Eleven-year-old Will Moloney became the youngest winner in the fifty-three-year history of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club, after matching motors with more seasoned rivals in the five kilometre Barham Insurance Handicap at Stawell on Saturday.
Deciding that he was fit and strong enough not to contest the one kilometre Sub-Junior scamper, the wiry Will lined up with the older boys (and girls) and waged a see-saw war with the nuggetty Bal Sukhpreet throughout the race which helped him to post an impressive winning time of 22.06 minutes on a challenging course.
When handicaps were applied, Moloney had a 0.23 minute margin over the much improved Naomi Hunter with a super-fit Jess Cass the fastest female but just 0.11 minutes behind on handicap.
“I didn’t feel tired at all at the end, only glad and it was really good practice for the school cross country next term,” Moloney said at the post-race presentation. “It felt good to beat the other runner (Sukhpreet). He passed me a couple of times but I passed him back and was ahead of him at the end.”
The youngster had shown potential and stamina as a nine-year-old when he tested the mettle of this writer and beat him in the eight kilometre Beat’s Great Western Classic (2017).
Torn between whether he wants to focus on playing football with Navarre or apply himself to running, he said: “I like them both about the same but my mates play footy and I’ll be playing with them when the season starts.”
In the Sub-Junior event, Jerome Baker was too slick for Will Freeland, Indigo Venn and fifteen others in the biggest field of youngsters club veterans could remember.
The club meets at the Concongella Hall at 9.30am tomorrow for the five kilometre Hunter Gardens and Landscaping Handicap. Fun runners are welcome.