"I feel very fortunate and delighted to have been in charge of such a good team" says Cross Country Coach, Dr Roger Slade. With Dr Slade sharing coaching duties with well-known runner Mark Hipworth, the Open team won the APS Premiership for the fourth year in succession and the eighth time in the past 13 years - an outstanding achievement!
"We got off to a great start at our pre-season camp at Cowes," says Dr Slade. "We were fortunate to have a good nucleus of athletes from last year's premiership team and a large number of new runners, allowing us to start the season with quality runners and numerical strength."
The benefits of the torturous water and beach runs at the camp became apparent at the Tan, during the first of the six APS races, which the Scotch team won convincingly. Nevertheless, it was clear that the season would be a challenging one, with strong performances by other schools, especially Wesley, St Kevin's and Xavier.
The finish of Race 2 saw cardinal uniforms dominant again; five Scotch runners finished in the top ten and there were strong performances from many others. The team faced its first major challenge in the third round against St Kevin's, but managed to win despite injury and illness to some athletes.
By this stage in the season most observers believed that either Wesley or Scotch would win overall and Race 4 brought the teams together in an exciting head-to-head competition. In an outstanding display of patience and timing, the Scotch runners drew away from their competition in the final stages. Many boys recorded personal best placings and six Scotch athletes finished in the top 12. "They were quite brilliant," recalls Dr Slade happily.
"It was probably the best run by any APS team for at least eight years!"
After the highs of this race, the following week was an anticlimax and, although winning again, the team looked vulnerable. Xavier was also undefeated, and during this competition their runners showed substantial improvements in form. Suddenly Scotch's grasp on the premiership seemed shaky.
But with encouragement from captains Andrew Birch and Stewart Morrison, the team regrouped and regained lost form, winning convincingly in a memorable and dramatic final race held at Geelong.
Best performers in the Scotch team were Luke Stokes, who was consistently second or third overall, Phil Tracy and Andrew Birch who finished in the top 10 each week, and Darcy Long, Cameron Fairlie, Eric Coleman, James Munro, Chris Hamilton, Stewart Morrison, James Mayer and Hugh Peters.
With many strong performances coming from our younger athletes in the Under 16 and 14 races, who are coached by Mr Ken James, Scotch's outstanding results in this sport seem likely to continue in the future.
Teacher In Charge - Cross Country
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)