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Bukkyo Over Ritsumeikan at Kansai University Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

The women's ekiden season kicked off with a matchup between the two top university teams in the country, Kyoto's dynamic pair Bukkyo University and Ritsumeikan University.  Ritsumeikan, missing aces Michi Numata and Hanae Tanaka, dominated the first half by winning the first three stages, including new records on the First and Third Stages by members Mutsumi Ikeda and Risa Takenaka.  Down 50 seconds at the start of the Fourth Stage, 2010 national champion Bukkyo's fortunes turned around thanks to a stage record run by ace Hikari Yoshimoto, and thanks to stage win by anchor Shiho Takechi and the absence of Ritsumeikan's Numata and Tanaka Bukkyo pulled away to a comfortable win nearly a minute and a half up on their rivals.

Bukkyo and Ritsumeikan are both so far ahead of any other school that their B-teams beat the next-strongest school, Kyoto Sangyo University.  Ritsumeikan's B-squad Fifth Stage runner Ikumi Natsuhara actually won her stage by nearly 20 seconds.  The two schools will meet again next month at the National University Women's Ekiden where Ritsumeikan will seek to regain the title it lost to Bukkyo last year.  With Natsuhara in place on the A-team, if Numata and Tanaka be back in action Bukkyo and Ritsumeikan should be a very even match.

2011 Kansai University Women's Ekiden
Kobe, 9/24/11
click here for complete results

Individual Stage Winners
First Stage (3.9 km) - Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 12:20 - CR
Second Stage (3.3 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 10:09
Third Stage (6.5 km) - Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:52 - CR
Fourth Stage (6.5 km) - Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 20:52 - CR
Fifth Stage (3.3 km) - Ikumi Natsuhara (Ritsumeikan Univ. B) - 10:22
Sixth Stage (6.5 km) - Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 21:47

Top Team Results - Six Stages, 30.0 km
1. Bukkyo Univ. A - 1:37:31
2. Ritsumeikan Univ. A - 1:38:59
3. Ritsumeikan Univ. B - 1:39:28
4. Bukkyo Univ. B - 1:39:37
5. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 1:39:45
6. Osaka Gakuin Univ. A - 1:41:36
7. Bukkyo Univ. C - 1:43:21
8. Kansai Univ. - 1:43:53
9. Kobe Gakuin Univ. - 1:45:16
10. Nara Sangyo Univ. - 1:45:34

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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