Monday, December 27, 2010

Kojokan Wins National High School Girls Ekiden - Video Highlights (updated)

by Brett Larner

Click photo for video highlights.

Thanks in part to outstanding performances from the identical twin Akamatsu sisters on the final two stages, Kojokan H.S. took its second-ever national title at the 2010 National High School Girls Ekiden, holding off two-time defending champion Toyokawa H.S. by 16 seconds after battling the strong Suma Gakuen H.S. throughout the ekiden.

Kojokan's Katsuki Suga got the team off to a good start, winning the 6 km First Stage by a margin of 6 seconds. Suma Gakuen's Risa Yokoe caught up on the Second Stage, running a stage best to finish the leg dead even with Kojokan's Miyuki Oka. Suma Gakuen's Third Stage runner Mika Kobayashi likewise turned in a stage best, giving the school an 8 second lead after Kojokan's Manami Takehisa finished only 9th on the stage.

Everything turned around on the 3.0 km Fourth Stage. Kojokan's Hiroka Akamatsu, the lesser-known of its star Akamatsu twins, seized back the lead, taking the stage best with a strong 9:35. Suma Gakuen's Natsuki Hara was only 9th on the stage in 9:55. Akamatsu handed off to her sister Mahiro Akamatsu, the Asian junior 3000 m champion and national high school 1500 m champion, with a lead of 12 seconds over Suma Gakuen. Behind the two leading schools, defending champion Toyokawa and powerhouse Sendai Ikuei H.S. handed off to Kenyan anchors Murugi Wainaina and Mary Wydira.

Akamatsu, who was tripped twice by the same person on the First Stage last year, successfully held off both Wainaina and Wydira to give Kojokan the national title. Wainaina, stage best winner on the anchor leg last year, did her best to bridge the gap but despite again taking the stage best title could not catch Akamatsu. Wydira ran together with Wainaina but lost ground in the final kilometer and finished 6 seconds back with the second best time on the stage. Akamatsu recorded the third-best stage time.

2010 National High School Girls Ekiden
Top Team Results - 21.0975 km
click here for complete results
1. Kojokan H.S. - 1:07:50
2. Toyokawa H.S. - 1:08:06
3. Sendai Ikuei H.S. - 1:08:12
4. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. - 1:08:58
5. Kita Kyushu Municipal H.S. - 1:08:59
6. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - 1:08:59
7. Tokiwa H.S. - 1:09:02

Stage Best Performances
click here for complete results
click stage headers for video highlights
First Stage (6.0 km) - Katsuki Suga (Kojokan H.S.) - 19:29
Second Stage (4.0975 km) - Risa Yokoe (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 12:44
Third Stage (3.0 km) - Mika Kobayashi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:51
Nana Fukuzaki (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 9:51
Shiho Takeda (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:51
Fourth Stage (3.0 km) - Hiroka Akamatsu (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:35
Fifth Stage (5.0 km) - Murugi Wainaina (Toyokawa H.S.) - 15:40

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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