XCR’16: Strong start for Essendon as cross country season gets underway

Athletics Essendon’s open men have made a solid start to their Division 2 cross country premiership bid, finishing second at Saturday’s Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships at Jells Park in Wheelers Hill.

The team clocked 1hr 59min 42sec for their 6 x 6km relay, which served as the opening round of Athletics Victoria’s 2016 season of cross country and road racing (XCR’16).

Facing tough competition on the opening leg, youngster Nick Smith (20min 8sec) made a strong start to have the team in sixth at the first change before Tom Vernon (20:33) and brothers Asmelash and Muse Tesema (20:37 and 20:31) began to reel in the deficit through the middle legs.

Toby O’Brien (20:02) and Mitchel Brown (17:51) then pushed the team into third and second respectively through the final legs but were unable to reel in a powerful Western Athletics outfit, which took victory in 1hr 58min 36sec.

Western Athletics shapes as one of the biggest obstacles for Essendon’s open men as they again seek promotion to Premier Division, with Doncaster having foiled last year’s bid to return to the top tier of competition.

Among the other notable results for Essendon’s open teams was a fourth-place finish for the Division 2 women, with the outfit of Sandra Prosenica, Isabelle Gerardi, Laura Paterson and Jaimie Vernon clocking 1hr 38min 1sec for their 4 x 6km relay, while the men’s Division 4 team was victorious in its 5 x 6km event.

But it was the junior women who enjoyed the most success, with the under-20 team of Affinity Miller, Emily Guy and Olivia Gallagher and the under-18 team of Emily Files, Allison Rogers and Maddison Caulfield both taking out their 3 x 3km events.

The XCR’16 season continues on Saturday, May 7 at Wandin Park Equestrian Centre, Wandin North.

For full results, visit


Men’s Division 2: 6 x 6km – 2nd (1:59:42)
Nick Smith 20:08
Tom Vernon 20:33
Asmelash Tesema 20:37
Muse Tesema 20:31
Toby O’Brien 20:02
Mitchel Brown 17:51

Men’s Division 4: 5 x 6km – 1st (1:50:10)
Damien Bruneau 21:21
Jeff Jones 22:24
Hayelom Dawit 21:08
Danny Hawksworth 22:07
Roland Burke 23:10

Men’s Division 6: 4 x 6km – 3rd (1:36:27)
Walid A-Kurtu 22:38
Daniel White 23:17
Aaron Heaney 25:53
Adrian Wrout 24:34

Men’s Division 7: 4 x 6km – 1:50:04
Malcolm Wellington 25:02
Peter Vernon 25:40
Justin McLaren 29:48
Duncan Knox 29:34

Women’s Division 2: 4 x 6km – 4th (1:38:10)
Sandra Prosenica 24:51
Isabelle Gerardi 25:53
Laura Paterson 25:03
Jaimie Vernon 24:25

Women’s Division 5: 3 x 6km – 12th (1:38:30)
Melissa Hardiman 38:30
Elizabeth French 27:40
Teri Crook 32:20

Men’s Under 18: 3 x 3km – 13th (35:08)
Haydn Poliness 10:02
Zach Mottram 10:42
Christian Knox 14:24

Women’s Under 20: 3 x 3km – 1st (33:14)
Affinity Miller 33:14
Emilie Guy 10:22
Olivia Gallagher 10:49

Women’s Under 18: 3 x 3km – 1st (32:32)
Emma Files 10:42
Allison Rogers 10:53
Maddison Caulfield 10:56