James Nipperess (Sydney University) and Jenny Blundell (Cherrybrook) have taken out the NSW Novice Cross Country Championships at Scarborough Park, Ramsgate.
Nipperess, 18, showed the benefit of local knowledge of the course, running away from a pack of athletes over the final few kilometres of the race to win in 32:29. The first year Sydney University physiotherapy student, who was formerly a member of St George Athletics Club, dedicated his victory to coach Albie Thomas.
In second place was the ever improving Chris McDonald (Sutherland), who last was last year's NSW U20 Cross Country Champion, with consistent Blue Mountains athlete Earl O'Brien gaining his first podium finish in third.
The women's race was dominated by teenage athletes, with 13 year old Cherrybrook runner Jenny Blundell becoming one of the youngest in the history of the event to claim victory. The fluid moving Blundell, who has already shown promise on the track with a swift 2:11.16 over 800m, demonstrated by her commanding 61 second victory that she may have a future in the longer events as she grows older. Sutherland's Lauren Parsons finished second ahead of Morgan Maloney (Blue Mountains) and UTS Norths' Ruby Hackett in a blanket finish.
In supporting events NSW U20 10000m record holder Hollie Emery had a busy day, being the first woman across the line in the 4km (13:14) and second in the 10km (36:45) behind UTS Norths' Eliza Stewart (35:25). Jeremy Horne took out the invitational 10km in 32:09, whilst 800m runner Ben Liddy successfully negotiated the 4km event in 12:16. The Delaney family took the honours in the 2km event, with 2008 World Junior 1500m representative Bridey finishing second overall (6:26), beaten home only by her younger brother Thomas (6:06).
Athletics NSW sincerely wishes to thank St George District Athletics Club for their expert management of the events, which saw 575 athletes compete in the warm conditions.
Results of the Novice Championships are available here. Results from the invitation events are available here.