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Omwamba Leads Yamanashi Gakuin to Top of National University Ekiden Qualifier

by Brett Larner

Triple 2013 Kanto Region 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m champion Enock Omwamba led Yamanashi Gakuin University through the woods to take the top position at the National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Region Qualifier June 30 at Tokyo's National Stadium.  One of the most interesting meets on the Kanto circuit, the Kanto Region qualifier features twenty second-tier teams vying for seven spots at November's National University Ekiden Championships, every team with two men in each of four heats and the team's standing determined by the accumulated time of all eight men.  Team supporters line the track making noise and creating a high-energy environment.

Heading into the fourth and final heat, Yamanashi Gakuin had a lead of less than 7 seconds over rival Hosei University.  Omwamba led start to finish, dropping his trailers one by one to finish in 28:18.77, beating Hosei ace Kazuto Nishiike by almost 47 seconds and making hefty donation to the cause.  Yamanashi's Hiroto Inoue wrapped it up with a 29:09.75 for 3rd, adding another 4 seconds onto Yamanashi margin over Hosei.

Aoyama Gakuin University, which last year enigmatically failed to qualify for Nationals before setting the course record at the season-opening Izumo Ekiden, ran steadily for 3rd despite a lackluster performance by sophomore star Kazuma Kubota in Heat 4.  Chuo Gakuin University, Teikyo University, Daito Bunka University and Juntendo University filled out the list of qualifiers for the second of this year's Big Three university ekidens.

National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Region Qualifier
National Stadium, Tokyo, 6/30/13
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top seven qualify for National University Ekiden Championships
1. Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. - 3:57:32.71
2. Hosei Univ. - 3:58:51.38
3. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 3:59:17.60
4. Chuo Gakuin Univ. - 4:00:28.66
5. Teikyo Univ. - 4:00:34.80
6. Daito Bunka Univ - 4:00:43.66
7. Juntendo Univ. - 4:01:06.69
-----
8. Koku Gakuin Univ. - 4:01:37.26
9. Takushoku Univ. - 4:01:46.38
10. Tokai Univ. - 4:01:57.76

Heat 4
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:18.77
2. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 29:05.46
3. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:09.75
4. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:10.39
5. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:10.87
6. Ryo Nakagawa (Tokai Univ.) - 29:12.49
7. Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) - 29:13.59
8. Yudai Okamoto (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:16.52
9. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:17.72
10. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:18.89

Heat 3
1. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 29:27.81
2. Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) - 29:29.94
3. Shinichiro Tai (Hosei Univ.) - 29:30.19
4. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:32.87
5. Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:33.55

Heat 2
1. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:52.53
2. Yuki Hirota (Tokai Univ.) - 29:55.14
3. Koki Nanba (Teikyo Univ.) - 30:01.13
4. Akifumi Ueki (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:04.61
5. Ryoma Takeuchi (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:04.94

Heat 1
1. Tatsumi Abe (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:04.18
2. Hiroki Sugawa (Chuo Univ.) - 30:06.86
3. Junya Uemura (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:07.53
4. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:10.69
5. Ryo Hashimoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 30:13.81

Heat 5 - alternates' heat
1. Kazuma Tashiro (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:08.98
2. Noriyasu Ikeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:16.98
3. Shun Yamamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 30:17.52
4. Shunji Kikkawa (Tokai Univ.) - 30:17.61
5. Yuta Hamano (Senshu Univ.) - 30:19.40

text and photo (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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