BENDIGO athlete Andy Buchanan clocked the fastest time of 17.21 for the 6km relay leg he ran for Bendigo Region at Jells Park in Saturday's start to Athletics Victoria's XCR19 action.
Promoted to division two after being division three champion last year, Bendigo made a superb start to the cross-country series.
Bendigo's top team was University club-mates Andy Buchanan, Kye Jenkyn, Nathan Meade and Stephen van Rees; South Bendigo's Archie Reid; and Bendigo Harriers star Brady Threlfall.
The national 10km cross-country champion in 2017 and '18, Buchanan showed he will again be a runner to be reckoned with in XCR.
Athletes in division two ran two loops of the 3km circuit.
Bendigo Region's overall time of 1:54.49 earned second place in division two behind the powerful
Knox Athletics line-up and seventh fastest overall of 132 teams.
Highs for Bendigo Region included the team's third-fastest time of 18.54 achieved by rising star Archie Reid, and gun triathlete Nathan Meade racing so well in his first cross-country event.
The powerful Knox Athletics won division two at Jells Park.
In division five, Bendigo was third overall, and ran to eighth place in division seven.
The Collingwood Harriers team in division one included former Sandhurst Football Club players Simon Hanns and Xavier Meade, while Bendigo-based athlete Jamie Cook ran for Glenhuntly in the top bracket.
There was no female team for Bendigo Region at Jells Park, but the winter committee will be aiming to field at least one women's line-up in round two and beyond.
Next round in XCR19 is on June 1 at St Anne's Winery in Myrniong, west of Bacchus Marsh.
All four Bendigo Region clubs - Bendigo Harriers, Bendigo University, Eaglehawk and South Bendigo - were represented in Saturday's racing.
Times for Bendigo Region's teams:
Div. 1, 1:54.49, 2nd : Andy Buchanan 17.21, Archie Reid 18.54, Nathan Meade 19.39, Stephen van Rees 20.46, Brady Threlfall 18.51, Kye Jenkyn 19.18.
Div. 5, 1:31.19, 3rd : Ben Stolz 21.54, Nigel Preston 20.57, Luke Millard 23.24, Andrew Creer 25.04.
Div. 7, 1:47.31, 8th : Darren Hartland 24.50, Antony Langdon 31.17, Jayson Carter 23.40, James Russell 27.44.
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