Cross Country | Barker Invitational

Cross Country | Barker Invitational

Saturday, 29 May 2021

It was the first trying race, weather-wise, for our runners last Saturday at the Barker Invitational at North Ryde Common. Cold, windy conditions made the warm-up particularly important! As always, our runners showed great spirit in their determination to complete and conquer a difficult course; reversed from its usual direction, there was a longer uphill section and the inside loop back to the start was also lengthened, while the finish now practically became a downhill sprint!

Our Under U14s team continued to shine. Our team came 2nd overall, not far behind the winners, Newington, while Matthew M (8WJ) came 1st again, while Joshua L (7Ta) in 11th, Daniel S (6Ta) in 13th and Michael S (7St) in 25th rounded out our top four runners. Michael has been training and racing hard, and it was pleasing to see him not only improve so much, but also to reach a goal he had been encouraged to set by his mother. One of our runners who has improved the most has been Christian Ng (7WJ), and it’s pleasing to see him make goals and achieve them as he trains well.

Consistent with recent form, our Under 16s squad featured heavily in the front of the race, with Luca G (9St), Jack W (10Ke), Joseph C (10Du), Micheal K (10Ta) and Zachary P (11Ho) all finishing in the top 17. Benjamin I (10La) continues to run strongly, while Jack H (10Yo) and Miles A (10WH) formed a pack with some Sydney High runners in the middle of the race as they continued to run well with and thus encourage one another. Our team came 2nd to Shore, who has a particularly strong Intermediate squad, and our conversations with the Head of Cross Country there, Paul Dudley, revealed the secret of their brilliance: the scenic and symbolic training ground of the Harbour Bridge. Needless to say, I don’t think a harbourside relocation is within the bounds of the Cross Country budget; so the picturesque Bay Run, which we love, will have to do!

We have a wonderful Opens team which is characterised by team spirit and encouragement of each other, and it was great to see groups of Trinity runners spurring each other on through the undulating 8.7 kilometres or so, such as Oscar M (11Sc), Rory C (11Yo) and Matthew L (11Ta). Patrick C (12Du) achieved a fine individual place again, namely 4th, while William C (12Hi) is looking stronger and stronger, finishing in 32nd. It was great to have James K (12WJ) run for us in the midst of his significant Volleyball and other Year 12 commitments. Despite running for the first time in a long time, he fought hard, suffered hard and achieved a very commendable 56th, before racing back to Summer Hill for his next sporting engagement. It is a wonderful thing about Cross Country that we have so many boys who want to run for us in addition to their other sporting commitments. Michael W (12He), one of our most consistent runners over recent seasons, ran well again, while Jesse R (11He) finished his race with one of those sprint finishes that are so characteristic of him. As Mr Currer said, “No one beats Jesse in a sprint finish!” Our team came 6th (though 1st in the CAS), a fine achievement.

Injury is one of those inevitable challenges of the sport of running, and it’s worth giving a brief insight into how this affected our runners and how they coped with it this weekend, though the following are only a selection. Jonathan W (8Du), one of our runners who clearly always gives of his best, had to pull out mid-way due to illness, as did Theo C (12He), while Kobe S (7Yo) did not even start, having sustained an unfortunate injury the previous weekend. Ryan G (10WJ) was also affected by a mid-week injury, while Aveer S (8Ar), unable to run, still turned up to support his teammates. Myles B (8WJ), meanwhile, ran through pain to finish his race, as Matthew L is doing. Several of our runners are recovering from injuries of various sorts, staging their recovery carefully, such as Jack W, Luca G and William C, who have to strike a balance between running well but not too hard or for too long. There is the physical toll as well as the psychological, and I commend all of our boys for learning the hard way how to cope with disappointment.

We look forward to the first Relay event of the season tomorrow, at the same location of North Ryde Common but hosted by Cranbrook. This is the first event in which both Old Boys and Staff are also invited to participate. Mr Raptis has assured me that the Trinity Old Boys team is well positioned to challenge the best of the current Trinity teams, so watch out, all! The Trinity Staff team, meanwhile, is hoping to challenge at least one of the current Trinity teams. It should be a great spectacle for all!

Phillip Mugridge | MIC of Cross Country

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