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Five Qualify for National Titles
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Splendid performances by 11 Geelong College students saw five gaining state selection at the Victorian All Schools Cross Country Championships at Bundoora. Mia Kemp, Skye Ellis, Cassidy Bradshaw, Mimmi Balaam and Olivia Richardson have qualified for the Australian Cross Country Championships at Maleny QLD on 25 August.

Saturday's racing was conducted in mostly sunny, if rather cold conditions, despite the dreadful forecast. The distance of each course varied according to age and gender.

Mia Kemp (Under-14 girls) was first up with a 3km race, comprising a 1km lap followed by a 2km lap. Mia asserted herself early and was in the top 10 after the first lap. She maintained her position, finishing in ninth place with a time of 11:15.

Skye Ellis, Cassidy Bradshaw (U16 girls) and Ella Willson (U15 girls) had a 4km course of two 2km laps. After a lap, Skye was up among the leaders with Cassidy back in around 23rd and Ella in the midfield. With a good consistent performance, Skye finished fourth (14:26) and Cassidy with a blistering finish, crossed the line in sixth (14:41). Both qualified for state selection. Ella battled on steadily to finish in a credible 40th place (17:09).

Zac Norton and Will Jarman were our representatives in the U16 boys' race over 4km. Both boys have had injury worries over the season and bounced back well, with Zac recording a very sharp time of 13:22 to finish in 17th place and Will just over a minute behind in 47th. In the U14 boys' race, Jack Ellis had a great run, finishing 24th in a very competitive time. 

Great interest was centred on the Girls' U17/18 race, with captain Mimmi Balaam and Olivia Richardson expected to perform well. Neither was to disappoint. There hasn’t been much between either runner all season and Saturday’s race was no exception, with Mimmi running 14:26 and Olivia clocking 14:41. Mimmi finished sixth in the U18s and Liv finished sixth in the U17s, both earning state selection.

In the U20s we had two big improvers, Sam Barnes (Men's 8km) and Pippi McDonald (Women's 6km). Both were aiming to crack the top 30. Sam took off very quickly and after the climb in the first 4km lap, looked like he may have spent too much energy early. With his characteristic grit and determination, he picked up several runners in the second lap, to finish in a very pleasing 24th. He just missed the 30-minute mark, running 30:17 on a tough course. Over the 6km women's course (2km lap followed by a hilly 4km lap), Pippi established a steady rhythm which saw her overtake several runners who had gone out hard early. Her 18th placing (26:30) left her only several places outside state selection.

We wish those who have qualified for state selection all the best at the nationals. The official team announcement will be made on Thursday 21 June. With two months of training and three more rounds of APS cross country, they will be wonderful performers and ambassadors for The Geelong College.

Graeme Watkins
TIC Cross Country

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