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Onizuka and Ichiyama Score National Cross Country Titles

by Brett Larner

Japan's main selection race for the 2017 Kampala World Cross Country Championships happened Saturday at Fukuoka's National Cross Country Championships.  On fire this season with top three finishes in every race since November and wins at both January's National Men's Ekiden and the Karatsu 10-Miler two weeks ago, Tokai University first-year Shota Onizuka won a photo finish over pro Yuma Higashi (Team Kyudenko) to score the national title in the senior men's 12 km.  Burning just as hot with top three finishes all the way since October including two wins, Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) won the senior women's 8 km national title by three seconds over Yuka Hori (Team Panasonic).

The junior men's 8 km was nearly as close as the senior race.  Yuhi Nakaya of 2017 National High School Ekiden runner-up Saku Chosei H.S. won a three-way sprint finish over Ryo Saito (Akita Kogyo H.S.) and Kazuya Nishiyama (Tokyo Nogyo Prep Daini H.S.), running 24:02 to his rivals' 24:03.  Just two days after turning 17, the talented Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu, leader of 2017 National High School Ekiden champ Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S., soloed her way to the junior women's 6 km national title, winning by 10 seconds in 19:51.

2nd National Cross Country Championships
Fukuoka, 2/25/17
click here for complete results

Senior Men's 12 km
1. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) - 36:07
2. Yuma Higashi (Kyudenko) - 36:07
3. Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) - 36:15
4. Yamato Otsuka (Kanagawa Univ.) - 36:21
5. Haruki Ono (Kanagawa Univ.) - 36:22
6. Shota Maeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 36:28
7. Shuhei Shirota (Kanebo) - 36:29
8. Kazuma Taira (Waseda Univ.) - 36:37
9. Katsutoshi Monoe (Komazawa Univ.) - 36:48
10. Hiroyoshi Umegae (NTN) - 36:51

Senior Women's 8 km
1. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 26:46
2. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 26:49
3. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 26:56
4. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 27:04
5. Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka) - 27:12
6. Fumika Sasaki (Daiichi Seimei) - 27:16
7. Reno Okura (Hokuren) - 27:23
8. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:28
9. Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 27:37
10. Sayaka Ikegame (Hokuren) - 27:38

Junior Men's 8 km
1. Yuhi Nakaya (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 24:02
2. Ryo Saito (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 24:03
3. Kazuya Nishiyama (Tokyo Nogyo Prep Daini H.S.) - 24:03
4. Ryunosuke Chigira (Tokyo Nogyo Prep Daini H.S.) - 24:09
5. Sodai Shimizu (Rakunan H.S.) - 24:12
6. Keita Yoshida (Sera H.S.) - 24:12
7. Yoji Sakai (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 24:25
8. Takumi Yoshida (Rakunan H.S.) - 24:27
9. Haruka Onodera (Kato Gakuen H.S.) - 24:28
10. Ryota Natori (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 24:35

Junior Women's 6 km
1. Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 19:51
2. Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - 20:01
3. Hayaka Suzuki (Tokoha Gakuen Kikuha H.S.) - 20:02
4. Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) - 20:03
5. Hikari Onishi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 20:07
6. Yuka Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S.) - 20:08
7. Miku Moribayashi (Isehaya H.S.) - 20:13
8. Momoka Kawaguchi (Okazaki Gakuen H.S.) - 20:18
9. Yumika Katayama (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 20:23
10. Mikuni Yada (Luther Gakuin H.S.) - 20:29

© 2017 Brett Larner
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