translated by Brett Larner
Boys team targets "taking home the victory pennant"
Girls team "aiming for the podium"
Set to represent Hiroshima Prefecture again at the Dec. 21 National High School Ekiden Championships in Kyoto, the Sera H.S. boys and girls teams appeared at a sendoff ceremony at Sera Town Hall. Mayor Masakazu Okuda and fifty other town officials attended, encouraging both teams to put up a good fight at Nationals.
Both Sera teams won November's Hiroshima Prefecture High School Ekiden. Boys' captain Takahiro Kasai, 18, told the local dignitaries, "All of us want to deliver the strengths that each of us brings to the team so that we can bring the victory pennant home to our town." Girls' captain Tomoka Nakahata, 18, said, "We want to make the podium, and all of us stand united in making that happen."
Mayor Okuda told them, "I hope that you will shine on the national stage." Head coach Masaya Iwamoto, 49, commented, "If they run up to their usual ability then the results will follow." Clenching his fist in the air, to the athletes and team staff he said, "Let's go get that win in Kyoto! Oi Oi Oi!"
Translator's note: Sera H.S. is the alma mater of several of the best current runners in Japan including Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC), Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) and Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel).