Scots Snowsports team had high hopes to defend their Australian title but Melbourne Grammar were the overwhelming favorites to win since they won the Victorian Championships by a huge margin. One hundred and fifty schools with 2600 competitors qualified through their regional and state finals to compete at the Australian Championships.
The competition started with the XC event. Melbourne Grammar is traditionally a great team in this discipline. They always beat Scots and set up a lead in the quest in the race for the Shield. For the first time Scots came out on top after great performances by our XC skiers. The division one boys finished fourth (Daniel Walker, Lee Garner, Jake Carr and Michael Hughson). Daniel Walker finished third individually. The division 2 team (Ben Cobcroft, Louis Towning and Theo Strang) fought hard to gain a bronze medal. The division 3 team (Josh Stevens, Jack Adams and Jake Stevens) performed brilliantly to with both the Freestyle and the Relay. Josh Stevens was crowned Australian champion after his great battle with the favorite Liam Burton from Jindabyne. Great new talent were unearthed in the XC this year. Matthew Wright, Robert Fenton-Lee, Jack Freer, Oliver Medland, William Lavender, Cameron Webb, Tom Jensen, Alex Aroney and Ben Woodford are XC skiers with great potential.
Moving into day two and the snowboarding events, Scots were seven points ahead of the mighty Melbourne Grammar team. The snowboarders showed their prowess by dominating the competition. Our boys won three gold and three silver medals.
The division 2 BX and GS teams (Andrew Richardson, Adam Kennedy-Hunt and Louis Towning) and the division 3 GS team (Josh Stevens, Jake Stevens and Asher Fielder) were crowned National Champions. Silver medal performances came from Lee Garner, Angus Bolles, Blake Bennett and Charlie Murray in division 1. Individually, Josh Stevens won division 3, Andrew Richardson gained silver in division 2 in both the GS and BX. Angus Bolles finished second and third in the two disciplines. Great performances by Grant Loxton, Fred Murray, Edward Barrow, Aden Roberts and Luke Mullins added to the success of the shredders.
The Scots team was now in a commanding position in the race for the overall title but the skiing events were favouring Melbourne Grammar with a number of Australian representatives in their team.
The Moguls events were vital in the point score and Scots needed to break even in the points to remain in the lead. James Matheson, Lee Garner and Nick Herring won the National title with great performances in the difficult conditions.
The division 2 (Sam Payne, Edward Casey and Henry Lavender) and 3 (Jack Adams, J Weinert and William Lavender) teams gained valuable points while not reaching the podium. James Matheson won the bronze medal individually in division 1.
The spectators were eagerly waiting for the Skiercross competition. There were a number of teams in the hunt for the gold medals in the three divisions. Our boys emerged the overall winners in all age groups repeating last year’s results in Falls Creek. In division 1 (Lee Garner, Sacha Wittock and Harry Price), in division 2 (M Hough, Edward Casey and Henry Lavender)) and in division 3 (Josh Stevens, Adam Malouf and Jack Adams) won the team events. Max Hough was crowned National Champion after two brilliant runs. Liam Michael who steadily improved over the season finished with the silver and Adam Malouf with the bronze medal. Lee Garner also skied superbly to achieve a bronze medal. The surprise package was the division 3 B team (Liam Michael, Jake Stevens and William Lavender) which competed well to end up on the podium in third spot.
Scots started the last day of the competition in an unbeatable position in the overall schools’ championships. However, the boys were keen to compete against the outstanding teams from Victoria. In division 3, the favourites were MGS with two Australian representatives in their team. The duel was won at the end of two runs by Scots with great performances from Jack Adams, Josh Stevens, Adam Malouf and Liam Michael. Hypertrail is a difficult course at the best of times but it was downright impossible for the skiers to have a clear run on race day. The plan was to “freeski” the course and try not to push for fast times. The plan worked and the division 2 team (Max Hough, Edward Casey, Henry Lavender and Alex Williams) ended up National Champions with all the team members completing their two runs. The division 1 A team (Sacha Wittock, Max Lloyd, Lee Garner and Harry Price) skied very well and finished in second place. The B team gained a creditable fifth beating the A teams of Redlands and Redford College.
When all the points were added up, Scots emerged the winner of the Australian Championships on 209 points followed by MGS on 136 and in third place the rapidly improving Kings School on 82 points.
All boys should be congratulated for their brilliant team and individual performances and their outstanding sportsmanship during the five day competition.