After a dominant performance at the Preliminary Finals, the Ruyton Cross Country Team went into the Division One Championship last Friday as firm favourites. The girls were reminded that our closest competition were hungry for their first GSV Cross Country Championship win, and the reality that, for Ruyton to prevail, it must attack from the outset.
The Junior race often sets the tone for the day and, with injuries to three key runners, Ruyton had seemingly surrendered valuable points to its rivals. Our rivals sensed that a leaner Ruyton line up would be vulnerable, but Ruyton’s Junior team had prepared for this race all season and were primed for an intense contest.
The attacking flare of Junior runners Dee Dee D (2nd), Aisha K (3rd) and Lydia W (12th) demonstrated the power of bold running in unlocking the doubt in other team members and triggering a powerful response. Aimee T and Charlotte B, touted as top 80 finishers prior to the Carnival, produced outstanding performances to finish 21st and 23rd respectively of the 232 starters, effectively sealing the Junior Championship for Ruyton. Pippa D (27th), Emily M (38th), Koo C (42nd), Eliza K (62nd) and Charli C (135th) all played their part to secure a 61 point lead for Ruyton after the first race.
In the Intermediate section, Molly M (1st) and Amy A (3rd) ran outstanding races and led home a cavalcade of superb Ruyton performances, which included: Hayley M (12th), Maya W (13th), Carly A (18th), Lucy D (19th), Ellora K (27th), Olivia H (31st), Molly T (40th) and Mariam K (52nd). The score of 35 points for Ruyton’s Intermediate team was not only a School record, but also a GSV record for the Intermediate section.
The Senior team held its breath in the lead up to the Championship, as Laura P carefully managed an injury. Physically fragile, the multiple National Cross Country Champion and Co-Captain was determined to lead the team with Jessica H and Meredith R, the latter in her last GSV Cross Country for Ruyton. Laura’s mere presence at the start line gave the team tremendous inner belief and a hardened resolve to fight for every place. Laura’s courageous 9th place helped propel the Senior team to 2nd overall in the Senior Section. The team included Jessica H (24th), Sophie M (30th), Hannah W (36th), Ariane W (38th), Stella L (44th), Eleanor P (47th), Eliza G (59th), Olivia M (68th) and Meredith R (105th).
Ruyton’s overall team score of 199 points secured our 14th Division One Cross Country Championship. The team finished a resounding 168 points ahead of Loreto in 2nd place.
Ruyton’s depth on the day was emphasised by the success of the B team, claiming 13 Top 10 finishers in the three B races. Medal winners included Zoe O (1st) and Talaja D (3rd) in the Junior race, Cara O (3rd) in the Intermediate race and Georgia B (1st) and Claire O (2nd) in the Senior race.
The final Cross Country race of the season is the State Championship at Bundoora on June 17, where Ruyton will be aiming to become the only school team to have won the Overall State Championship for 15 years in a row.
Mr Stephen Ellinghaus, Director of Athletics