Jo Allison and Nick Hann opened the Australian Championships week with wins in the Victorian Middle Distance Championships at Creswick Diggings on Saturday.
The experienced Canberran proved the worth of experience on a technical course and controlled the race for most of the day. Only Anna Sheldon was able to get close to her, but Allison edged away over the second half of the course and ended up a minute clear. Liis Johansen, who splits her time between Estonia and Melbourne, had her best result in Australia with third, whilst Grace Crane’s fifth was her best result since returning to competition.
The men had a strong international field, and it ended up a race in three between two of those internationals and one of the locals. The New Zealander Hann posted the time to beat reasonably early in the day, but had to withstand two serious challenges, first from British WOC runner Ralph Street, and then from Simon Uppill. Neither, though, was quite able to match Hann over the last few controls, and had to settle for second and third.
Despite being on home ground, it was a disastrous day for the Victorian Nuggets in the National League, with three mispunches leaving them without a full women’s team and turning their five-point lead over the Queensland Cyclones into a two-point deficit. The Canberra Cockatoos extended their men’s lead from five points to ten. Both senior individual competitions are very tight; only seven points cover Krystal Neumann, Anna Sheldon, Natasha Key and Aislinn Prendergast, while Simon Uppill has a two-point lead over Matt Crane.