Rivalry heats up as aths clubs clash

BENDIGO Harriers and Eaglehawk will be aiming to end Chilwell's reign as team champion at this weekend's Victoria Country athletics titles in Ballarat.

The three-day titles start on Friday evening.

A year ago, Chilwell won a closely-fought contest with Eaglehawk and Bendigo Harriers to be the No.1 team at John Landy Field in Geelong.

Eaglehawk and South Bendigo have dominated the teams section of the titles across the past 15 years.

The Harriers have won the David Kitt Memorial Shield for number one men's team the past two years.

Bendigo Harriers and Eaglehawk are leading contenders for the men's and women's teams awards.

In-form athletes include South Bendigo walkers Zoe Boldiston and Zahra Hayes and the versatile Nigel Self.

Greg Hilson has performed well in the jumps and hurdles.

South Bendigo will also field some strong relay teams.

Bendigo Harriers have a strong male team with Paul Pryse and his sons Blake and Jemuel leading the way.

The Harriers have a lot of talent in the sprint, jumps and hurdles, and a group of olders runners led by president Geoff Jordan and Charles Chambers.

Brady Threlfall has nominated for the open 1500m, instead of the 5km or 10km.

Eaglehawk does not have quite as much strength as the squads which achieved five overall victories across the past six years.

However, the Hawks have a strong group of teenage girls to contest a wide range of disciplines.

Bek Lock, Carlie Whitford, Morgan Power and Olivia Graham will be to the fore in many of their age group events and Sophie Taylor will be one to watch in the under-20 sprints.

University's Andy Buchanan is in strong form for the open 1500m and clubmate Mike Bieleny had a great Oceania Masters and will be tough to beat in the middle-distance runs for the 50-plus age group.

Friday's competition starts at 4pm. First events on Saturday are at 9.30am.

The championships finale on Sunday begins at 8.30am. 

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