translated and edited by Brett Larner
At the 21st National Junior High School Ekiden Championships, Dec. 15 at Seminar Park in Yamaguchi, the Kakogawa Yamate J.H.S. boys' team of Kakogawa, Hyogo, ran 56:55 for the six-stage, 18.0 km boys' course to take its second-straight national title. Fujimi J.H.S. of Gunma came out on top of the girls' race for the second year in a row, running 40:10 for the five-stage, 12.0 km girls' course.
Kakogawa Yamate's Yuki Sakamoto led off in 6th for the opening stage. The boys' team dropped to 18th on the Second Stage, but on the Third Stage Kazuki Yamaguchi passed fifteen people to move up to 3rd. Fourth Stage runner Yuki Harazuka moved up to 2nd, putting Tessei Yamahata into position to steal the lead on the Fifth Stage. From there Kakogawa Yamate never looked back as it became just the third school in National Championships history to win a second-straight title.