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Hieizan Girls Looking to Use Natural Competitiveness at National High School Ekiden

translated by Brett Larner

Representing Shiga Prefecture for the second year in a row and fourth time in school history at Sunday's five-stage, 21.0975 km National High School Girls Ekiden Championships is Hieizan H.S.  Hieizan's young team is made up entirely of first- and second-years, but with each member of the team calmly attending to the business of getting the tasuki across the line it won the Shiga Prefecture qualifier to make this year's Nationals.

Targeting the school's 1:12-level record at the upcoming Nationals, head coach Katsuhiro Yoshii commented, "If they relax and use their natural competitiveness then the results will follow."  First-years Mao Sawamura and Saori Fukubayashi are in good shape.  Highly likely to be put on the First Stage, Sawamura said, "I'm good on the uphills.  I want to hang on and try to get the tasuki to the next runner as quickly as I can."  Veterans of last year's race, Moe Kawaharada and Yui Marutani are likely to be used in the middle stages.  The team captain, the second-year Marutani was firm as she commented, "I want us to run with aggression.  Every runner on the team needs to clear their target time for the stage they're responsible for."

Entry Roster
Hana Oki (2nd year)
Chika Osaki (2nd year)
Moe Kawaharada (2nd year)
Yui Marutani (2nd year)
Natsume Yamaguchi (2nd year)
Rina Kobayashi (1st year)
Mao Sawamura (1st year)
Saori Fukubayashi (1st year)

Translator's note: Last year the Hieizan H.S. girls finished 51st of 58 teams. The National High School Ekiden Championships will be broadcast live nationwide commercial for 4 1/2 hours this Sunday on NHK starting at 10:05 a.m. Japan time.  Follow @JRNLive for live coverage.


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