Bendigo athletes shine in Yarra Ranges

THE Flack Advisory Bendigo Region athletics team was in hot form at Saturday’s cross-country action at Wandin Park in the Yarra Ranges.

Just days after returning from his racing campaign in the United States, Andy Buchanan led Bendigo’s blitz.

Andy Buchanan races to victory in the 8km event at Wandin Park. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Andy Buchanan races to victory in the 8km event at Wandin Park. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Buchanan won the men’s open 8km race in a time of 26:05.68. The star from Bendigo University AC beat nearest rival Nicholas Earl in a field of more than 390 by 25 seconds.

South Bendigo clubmates Taryn Furletti and Yazmin Hayes dominated the 3km event.

Both teenagers compete in the under-16 class.

Furletti was runner-up in 12:20.73 and Hayes was seventh in 12:56.67 as they went one-two in the duel for the country title.

University’s Nigel Preston marked his return to representing Bendigo for the first time in many years by being the third Victorian Country athlete to finish the 8km in a time of 29:53.43.

Bendigo Harriers’ clubmates Ben Stolz and Matt Hooke were sixth and seventh in the country standings for the 8km in times of 31:36.50 and 31:49.24.

University’s Craig Green, eighth in the 45-49 age group in 32:58, and Charles Chambers, third in the 60-plus class in 37:57.92 earned championship points.

South Bendigo’s Daniel Plowright clocked 33:25.12 at his first attempt on the course.

Athletes to make big improvements on last year’s times were University’s David Heislers, 40:05.14, and South Bendigo’s Leigh Browell, 39:29.95. Both were in the top 40 of their age groups.

Bendigo Region won the men’s division five and division seven titles.

Other athletes to race at Wandin outside of Bendigo region were Bendigo Harriers’ Peter Cowell and Anne Buckley, who were  top five in their age categories.