BEN Ashkettle looms as the one to run down in the Victorian 15-kilometre road championship around Lake Wendouree today.
Ashkettle takes top form into the fourth round of the Athletics Victoria XCR’12 cross country and road series.
The Doncaster distance runner opened the season with a fifth to Sam Crowther at Balnarring and then finished third to Harry Summers and Mitch Brown in the Big V 10 at Flemington.
These have Ashkettle sitting second to Crowther in the XCR’12 open men’s season standings.
Ashkettle knows how to win on the Lake Wendouree circuit, too.
He crossed the line first in this event in 2009, beating home the Ballarat trio of Steve Moneghetti, Duer Yoa and Nathan Hartigan.
Ashkettle, 23, did not take away the title, though, because at the time he was based in the US and competed on invitation.
Crowther, of Knox, will naturally be a danger along with Box Hill’s Stephen Dineen, who finished second in the Sydney half marathon last month.
Each will be pleased that Mitch Brown (Essendon) is not running, saving himself for the Launceston Ten next Sunday.
Dineen was runner-up in Ballarat last year and Brown, third.
Shane Nankervis and James Attard shape as Ballarat Regional Athletic Centre’s best hopes of being crowned open men’s 15km champion.
Last year’s 15km winner Sophie Barker (Melbourne University), Anna Thompson (Glenhuntly) and Melissa Dunbcan (Knox) shape as frontrunners in the open women’s division.
Duncan and Barker are one-two in the XCR’12 aggregate.
Barker finished second to Olympian Lisa Weight in the Big V 10, and Duncan was third.
The women’s under-20, under-18, under-16, under-14 and men’s under-20, under-18, under-16 and under-14 5km events begin near Windmill Drive at 1.45pm.
The men’s and women’s open and masters 1km road races start at 2.15pm.
Ballarat Regional Athletic Centre entries:
MEN OPEN: James Attard, Barry Brooks, Paul Burge, Vincent Duffy, Alistair Ham, Rodney Hansen, Shannon Meadows, Leigh Phillips, Peter Roberts, Matthew Gibney
WOMEN OPEN: Catherine Gibney, Rachel Gibney, Joanne Ham, Christine O’Halloran
UNDER-18: Anthony Kearle
UNDER-16: Joel Duffy
UNDER-20: Ingrid Duffy
MEN OPEN: Josh Dew, Benjamin Fahy, David Grigg, Chris Beechey, Gary Blood, Paul Commons, Jamie Huggett, Sean Mahar, Stephen Mcmahon, Stephen Moneghetti, Shane Nankervis, Ashley Rogers, Simon Tournier, Nicholas Van Raaphorst, Andrew Wood
WOMEN OPEN: Sandy Beach, Emma Davis, Sarah Davis, Anne Martin, Belinda Mirabella, Delwyn Oliver, Jodi Valpied, Rebecca Wood
UNDER-20: Matthew Blood, Joshua Darby, Ben Huggett
UNDER-18: Jacob Willowhite
UNDER-14: Joshua Huggett, Zac Oliver
UNDER-20: Sara Tucker
UNDER-18: Jemma Mirabella, Louise Wood
UNDER-14: Sarah Collins, Natalya Hall-Dekleva
MEN OPEN: Andrew Clarke, Michael Fenelon, Matthew Griffin, Vaughn Harber,John Kinnersly,David Lenehan, Steven Linane, Jamie Maher, Brian Martin, Cory Prout, Frank Shevlin
UNDER-18: Jack Davies, Jesse Fullerton, Stewart Mcsweyn, Ryan Norman, Hein Reimert, Laiton Sullivan
UNDER-16: Jack Birmingham
UNDER-20: Rhiannon White
UNDER-18: Annika Miesen, Courtney Scott, Sarah Waters
MEN OPEN: Neville Down, Jeff Ellett, Stephen McLennan, Phillip McLennan, Marc Schnyder, Leon Underwood, Eric Zehrung
WOMEN OPEN: Michelle Hawkes, Jenny Kisler, Natasha Typuszak, Angela Williams
UNDER-20: Nick Venville
UNDER-18: Mitchell Thompson
UNDER-16: Griffin McGookin
UNDER-14: Nicholas Fidler, Joshua Hawkes, Sam Williams
UNDER-14: Anna Zehrung