translated by Brett Larner
After a recruiting coup with its 2016-17 incoming class that saw eight first-years run sub-14 for 5000 m, sub-29 for 10000 m and/or sub-1:03 for the half marathon, Tokai University will see another class of "super rookies" in 2017-18. The top three finishers on the First Stage at last December's National University High School Ekiden, its most competitive and prestigious stage, have all enrolled at Tokai, stage winner Ryota Natori (Saku Chosei H.S.), runner-up Kiseki Shiozawa (Iga Hakuho H.S.) and 3rd-placer Takeshi Nishida (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.).
Looking at the previous year's First Stage, including both second and third-years at the time 7 of the top 10 will now be running at Tokai. Every spring Tokai head coach Hayashi Morozumi holds a training camp to which he invites 200 runners from the ten best running high schools from across the country. Explaining the secret of his success in recruitment, Morozumi said, "We are constantly doing events like the training camp that help them understand the merits of Tokai University."
Translator's note: Prior to starting work at Tokai, Morozumi was one of the most successful high school coaches in Japanese history as the head coach of Saku Chosei H.S. At Saku Chosei he coached many of the current generation's best Japanese distance runners including Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin), Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project), Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) and Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA). Under his cross country-based coaching the 2008 Saku Chosei team ran the fastest-ever time by an all-Japanese team at the National High School Ekiden, covering the seven-stage, 42.195 km course in 2:02:18.