Cross Country Report: CAS Championships – North Ryde Common – 6.8.22developer
There could hardly have been a more fitting end to our Cross Country season than last Saturday’s climactic CAS Country Championships at North Ryde Common. Unlike the GPS schools, whose champions are determined by a cumulative point score throughout the season, CAS runners are required to complete five of the nine invitational carnivals to qualify to compete at the one-off final race. This being the case, runners, coaches and parents alike greeted Saturday morning with particular enthusiasm, and their enthusiasm was rewarded in spades! Lest you do not read until the end, I must say now a hearty thanks to all the parents of our runners, who supported their sons unflappably this season. We have a wonderful community.
For a number of years now Trinity has dominated the CAS Cross Country Championships, so it was with gusto but nerves that we arrived on Saturday with the knowledge that Cranbrook possessed a well-coached, confident excellent all-round squad which had the potential to knock us off our perch. A strategic game of cat and mouse was the order of the day, both teams being aware of the other’s weaknesses and having to make carefully calculated decisions as to which, if any runners to run up in higher age groups.
The most important decision was whether to run up a runner into our Under 16 age group, the aim being to secure both the Under 14 and Under 16 age groups. We decided to take this option, and our first four Under 14 runners were therefore Kobe S. (8Yo), Joshua L. (8Ta), Michael S. (8St) and Jacob C. (7Hi). They all ran extraordinarily well, fighting to the end as their more senior teammates lined the final 500m and urged them to make the most of every last ounce of energy. Our whole Under 14 team did themselves proud, in fact. One thinks of Otis S. (7Du) sprawled on the grass as he recovered his breath after the race, or of Aaryn J. (7Ho) making an impressive comeback after illness, or of Noah A.’s (8He) marked improvement after two years of solid training, or of Daniel S.’s (7Du) determination to run in the green and white after a whole season of disappointing injury. In the end, our top four finished with the raw places of 1st, 3rd, 8th and 11th, but Cranbrook accomplished an impressive set of 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. For those of you who haven’t yet done the maths, that means that we finished one point behind Cranbrook. But wait! The two runners who finished 9th and 10th were ineligible to be counted due to not having run enough races, meaning that Jacob actually came 8th and we ended up winning the age group by a point. Unbelievable! The coaches’ Garmin records will attest to their dramatically increased heart rates throughout and after the race, but having secured this age group, we felt supremely confident that we could secure the U16 age group as well – and perhaps the Opens – so breathed again and turned our attention to the next event.
The Under 16 race was absolutely dominated by Trinity. Matthew M. (8WJ), running up, won by a mile, while Luca G. (10St) in 3rd, Ben M. (10Yo) in 4th, Jaden L. (11Hi) in 10th, Ashwin S. (11Hi) in 11th and others, too, ran great races and demonstrated our depth. There was virtually no competition in this age group, but it was a great opportunity for these boys to show their mettle. In addition to those who had qualified to have their places counted, there were runners who for various reasons were unable to qualify this year but whose contribution we look forward to next year, such as Alex C. (9He) with injury and field studies, as well as Peter D. (10La) and Thomas D. (10Ta) who only recently arrived at Trinity and ran their first races on Saturday. We are proud of all our runners in this age group.
Our Open team needed to place at least 2nd to guarantee our winning the overall Michael Spratt Cup and becoming CAS Champions once more, and this they did in style. Cranbrook, to their great credit, ran up their best runners, ran a great race and won the Neil Logan Opens Shield (which we expected they might do), and our focus turned to defeating Waverley, whose runners ran an imposing first lap but faded as our boys cranked up the heat in the last two laps. Our point-scoring team was Jack W. (11Ke) in 3rd, James S. (12WJ) in 6th, Joseph C. (11Du) in 7th and Zachary P. (12Ho) in 11th, all of whom ran magnificently. James and Joseph worked brilliantly as a team to make a well-earned pass of a Cranbrook runner on the final lap, while Zachary put in a massive effort after a somewhat restricted season health-wise. Other runners did a great job too, many of whom ran so strung out that they were almost alone, since there were only CAS runners and the course was so undulating. We need to thank our phenomenal Year 12 cohort. They have been such exemplary role models and we will dearly miss them. We will look forward to celebrating with them at the Winter Sports Dinner.
There is so much more that could be said, but memories were made and stories will be told for years about the community and team spirit enjoyed this season by this group of runners. We retained the CAS Championships and enjoyed many individual successes, but that was merely the “cherry on top” of layer after layer of character building, community, and love of running. Well done to all!
Phillip Mugridge | Cross Country Co-ordinator