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Sera H.S. Kenyans Ndirangu, Wairimu Dominate Chiba Int'l XC Senior Races

by Brett Larner

Sera High School's Kenyans Charles Ndirangu and Susan Wairimu once again took the top positions, winning the senior men's 12 km and senior women's 8 km races at the 47th Chiba International Cross-Country Meet Feb. 12 in Chiba.  Ndirangu ran head-to-head against 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), accompanied partway by junior teammate John Gathaiya (Kenya/Sera H.S.).  After Gathaiya faded Ndirangu eventually opened a gap of ten seconds over Mathathi, winning in 34:59.  Gathaiya was nearly run down by 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist and 1500 m national university champion Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), who broke away from a chase pack of four including track runner Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B), 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Hakone Ekiden Seventh Stage record holder Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) late in the race.  Gathaiya held on to 3rd in 35:38 with Osako just six seconds back.  A gap of nineteen seconds separated Osako and the other three Japanese runners, who took 5th through 7th.  With Chiba serving the role of selection race for the Japanese teams for the Asian XC Championships and World University XC Championships all four Japanese men should figure into the team nominations.

Ndirangu's teammate Wylim likewise took the senior women's 8 km title, but by a smaller margin over Kenyan pro Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts), clocking 26:41 to Kimanzi's 26:46.  5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno), on the mend from Achilles trouble in December, took a distant 3rd in 27:17 after dropping university star Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) on the final set of hills.

Just a week after running the Briggs Athletics Classic 5000 m in Australia, Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) and Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) went up against each other again in the junior men's 8 km.  As on the track Kubota again came up on top, winning in 24:33 over Yokote, whose 24:41 was just enough to keep him ahead of a large chase pack.  The junior women's 5 km featured an outstanding lineup of virtually every top high school runner in the country.  Yuka Ando (Toyokawa H.S.) proved the strongest, winning by four seconds in 16:45.  1500 m national champion Mika Kobayashi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) was 8th in 16:57.

2012 Chiba International Cross-Country Meet
47th running, Chiba, 2/12/12
click here for complete results

Senior Men's 12 km
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 34:59
2. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 35:09
3. John Gathaiya (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 35:38
4. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 35:44
5. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 36:03
6. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 36:05
7. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 36:15
8. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 36:24
9. Hayato Saito (Team Honda) - 36:26
10. Masaya Taguchi (Toyo Univ.) - 36:28

Senior Women's 8 km
1. Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 26:41
2. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 26:46
3. Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) - 27:17
4. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 27:25
5. Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 27:30
6. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 27:31
7. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 27:35
8. Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko (Ukraine) - 27:40
9. Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.) - 27:46
10. Ayame Takaki (Meijo Univ.) - 27:50

Junior Men's 8 km
1. Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 24:33
2. Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) - 24:41
3. Kazuki Uemura (Mima Shogyo H.S.) - 24:44
4. Taiga Machizawa (Kashiwa Civic H.S.) - 24:45
5. Keisuke Nakatani (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 24:47
6. Koki Takada (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 24:50
7. Yuta Koyama (Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.) - 24:50
8. Hideto Yamanaka (Okukuni H.S.) - 24:53
9. Yudai Yamamoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 25:03
10. Yusuke Nishiyama (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 25:05

Junior Women's 5 km
1. Yuka Ando (Toyokawa H.S.) - 16:45
2. Mai Shoji (Okazaki Gakuen H.S.) - 16:49
3. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 16:49
4. Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 16:50
5. Katsuki Suga (Kojokan H.S.) - 16:51
6. Chiharu Suzuki (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep. H.S.) - 16:55
7. Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 16:56
8. Mika Kobayashi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 16:57
9. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 17:01
10. Natsuki Omori (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 17:02

Senior Men's 4 km
1. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 11:54
2. Hiroaki Koike (Toyo Univ.) - 11:58
3. Koji Imaeda (Kanagawa Univ.) - 12:03
4. Daisuke Tamura (SDF Academy) - 12:04
5. Takahiro Tsuchiya (Toyo Univ.) - 12:05

Junior Men's 4 km
1. Naoki Nakamura (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 12:25
2. Jack Williams (Canada) - 12:29
3. Daiki Suzaki (Muroran Otani H.S.) - 12:30
4. Ryo Nishiyama (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 12:36
5. Takao Kizu (Sakuragaoka Nihon Prep H.S.) - 12:40

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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