Excitement filled the air as athletes, coaches and officials headed to Lakeside Stadium for the Victorian Track and Field Championships over the last two weekends in February. OXAC had a strong presence, as expected, with 21 of our athletes competing across 44 events!
Our 400m stars opened up the championships with some swift one-lap action. Savannah Noack and summer captain Monica Clarke both smashed their PBs, running 58.50 and 58.17 to make the Open Semi-Final. In the U20 Para race, Clara Campillos claimed Silver and Annabelle Colman took home the Gold, whilst Carlo Manolitsas had a dominant run to win the Open Para competition! Furthermore, the always-impressive Brodie Hicks had a stellar run in the U20 Men’s Final, crossing the line in 48.29 for the Silver Medal as a bottom-age athlete! Well done to Olivia Yacono, Meaghan Deane, and T20-athlete Sophie Hughes on their strong runs in the one-lap event too.
The middle-distance crew were also eager to race–particularly our juniors, rushing straight to the track as soon as they heard the Friday afternoon bell echoing down the halls. Xavier schoolboy Josh Augustinus ran 4:09.29 to finish 9th in the U17 1500m Final, whilst Amelia Lague won Gold in the U17 Para. In the U20 Men’s, both Angus Dalton and Ben Sherman qualified for the final, clocking 4:02.69 and 4:06.60 to finish 6th and 11th respectively. It was an OXAC double once again in the U20 Women’s Para 1500m Final, as Clara Campillos and Annabelle Colman impressively backed up after running the 400m. Furthermore, T20-athlete, Cameron Marshall won Gold in the U20 Men’s Para in a time of 4:59.54, while Georgia Powning came second in the Open Para 1500m Final with 5:21.49.
Next up on the track were our power-based 100m and Shot Put athletes. In the U20 Para Final, Clara Campillos and Annabelle Colman competed in yet another event for the weekend, coming second and third, whilst Sophie Hughes and James Brown took home Gold and Silver in the Open Para events. Additionally, OXAC were well represented in the throwing events with Cameron Marshall adding to his 1500m Gold with a Silver medal in the U20 Para Shot Put and Nelson Gray claiming Bronze in the Open event amongst a field of Paralympians.
Fast-forward to weekend 2 of the championships where another haul of medals was won and more outstanding performances were on display. Brodie Hicks was on fire once again, running 22.18s to claim Bronze in the U20 200m! In the U20 Women’s Para race, Clara and Annabelle finished top 2 once more to complete their hat-trick, whilst James Brown took home another Silver in the Open Para Men’s with a time of 25.88s. Moreover, the Open Women’s Para 200m saw Sophie Hughes claim Bronze behind Australian-representative, Erin Garbler who won the state title in a blistering 34.09s!
Our middle-distance crew were just as excited as the first weekend, with athletes lining up for both the 800m and 3000m races. In the 800m, Meaghan Deane and Riley Bryce both narrowly missed out on the Open final, running 2:16.40 and 1:55.12, whilst Clara and Annabelle impressively claimed Gold and Silver yet again, for the FOURTH time these championships! Furthermore, Amelie Lague took home the U17 Para title and Ben Sherman had another good run, placing 6th in the U20 final. Additionally, well done to Charlotte Hoskins who placed 5th in the U20 3000m, as well Gerry Stamoulis on a fantastic run and Josh Augustinus who placed 6th with a time of 9:07.08 in the U17 final.
OXAC athletes were also just as impressive in the more technical events as they were in the flat races. In the Long Jump, James Brown claimed the state title in the Open Para event, whilst Olivia Yacono flew off the board in the Open Women’s to claim Bronze in a new personal best of 5.74m! If that wasn’t enough, the next day Olivia also qualified for the Open 400m Hurdles final alongside Monica Clarke.
Overall, the championships were a major success for the Old Xaverians Athletics Club and a fine reflection of the quality of athletes amongst us. Across both weekends, the club had 26 podium finishes with 11 Gold, 10 Silver, and 5 Bronze medals. Thank you to all the coaches, volunteers and supporters for their contribution over the championships and huge congratulations to all the athletes who competed; best of luck for the remainder of the season!
Race report by Ed Durand-Kennedy