Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder James Nipperess proved that practice really does make perfect, kicking late to claim the Australian title at Saturday’s Australian Cross Country Championships in wet and muddy conditions in Adelaide.
Having prepared for Saturday’s 12km course by completing a cross country race in New Zealand two weeks ago in tough conditions, Nipperess’s confidence levels were at an all-time high.
“It was a lot muddier than this so I was confident coming in knowing that the course was going to be muddy because I’d been there before, had performed well there and am happy how it went today,” Nipperess told Athletics Australia.
Nipperess’s (B. Health Science – Physiotherapy) victory came after a sprint finish, beating a trio of very well credentialed Victorians to the line.
“Hamer (Chris Hamer) put it on and the Vic boys really tried hard to run the legs off me but I stayed as tough as I could and was lucky enough to come away with the win against some tough opposition,” said Nipperess.
The win is Nipperess’s first open national title and continues a very impressive year for the young physiotherapy student.
Nipperess will next race at the Tan Relays in Melbourne where he will captain a very strong Sydney Uni Athletics Club (SUAC) six man relay team around ‘The Tan’ at Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens.
Nipperess was joined by a number of other SUAC athletes at the National Cross Country titles. In the men’s race fellow SUSF EAP scholarship holder Hugh Williams (B. Health Science) finished in 8th place on debut in the open age category and Russell Dessaix-Chin finished in 15th place.
In the women’s event SUSF EAP scholarship holder Milly Jane Clarke took home the bronze medal – her best performance in this event and puts her (along with Nipperess and Williams) in a strong position to gain selection for the Australian team traveling to the World Cross Country Championships next year. Also in the women’s U20 race SUSF EAP scholarship holder Eliza Barton (B. Animal & Veterinary Bioscience) finished 9th.
SUAC will next contest the NSW Half Marathon Championships at Bankstown this Sunday. The SUAC men’s team won this event last year and only need to finish 20th to wrap up a second consecutive Winter Premiership.
As mentioned earlier, SUAC will then travel to Melbourne to contest the ‘Tan Relays’ on September 15th which is Athletics Victoria’s biggest cross country relay event. The SUAC men’s team looks to be very competitive and is causing some level of concern south of the border.