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Tokyo Kokusai University Qualifies for Its First-Ever National University Ekiden With Kanto Region Win

Tokyo Kokusai University made history Sunday night at Kanagawa’s Sagamihara Gion Stadium, winning the Kanto Region Qualifier for November’s National University Ekiden to make the national championship ekiden for the first time.

One of the wave of new programs to break onto the Hakone scene in recent years, won by a margin of just 13 seconds for the combined times of its eight runners in four heats of 10000 m, downing major established schools like Meiji University, Waseda University and Nittai University to take the top spot. A big part of that was first-year Vincent Yegon, who won the most competitive heat in 28:04.56 to give Tokyo Kokusai an edge on cumulative time. But with a margin of more than 2:40 over the final qualifying team, 5th-place Chuo Gakuin University, the rest of the team pulled its weight and would have almost certainly qualified even without the boost from Yegon.

Chuo University was the unlucky 6th-placer at less than 18 seconds behind Chuo Gakuin, about 2 seconds per runner. Perpetual Hakone qualifiers Yamanashi Gakuin University, Nihon University, Daito Bunka University and Kanagawa University also struck out, landing 7th through 10th. Although the fastest heat was dominated by Kenyans with Yegon leading a sweep of the top six spots, Tokyo Kokusai was the only team with a non-Japanese runner to qualify, with Yamanashi and Nihon the only other two in the top ten. All five qualifiers will join the seeded group of schools from last year and the best of the rest of the country Nov. 3 at the National University Ekiden in Nagoya.

51st National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

Sagamihara Gion Stadium, Kanagawa, 6/23/2019
20 teams, 8 runners per team, 2 each in 4 heats of 10000 m
complete results

Team Scoringtop five qualify for National University Ekiden
1. Tokyo Kokusai University – 3:57:13.15
2. Meiji University – 3:57:26.03
3. Waseda University – 3:58:46.84
4. Nittai University – 3:59:29.30
5. Chuo Gakuin University – 3:59:53.89
6. Chuo University – 4:00:11.12
7. Yamanashi Gakuin University – 4:00:31.56
8. Nihon University – 4:01:15.62
9. Daito Bunka University – 4:01.52.58
10. Kanagawa University – 4:02:11.25

Individual Results
Heat Four
1. Vincent Yegon (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 28:04.55
2. Titus Wambua (Musashino Univ.) - 28:06.51
3. James Bunuka (Surugadai Univ.) - 28:09.09
4. Muiru Muthoni (Soka Univ.) - 28:15.68
5. Noah Kiplimo (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 28:18.93
6. Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:47.79
7. Shu Hasegawa (Senshu Univ.) - 28:51.09
8. Hideto Kosode (Meiji Univ.) - 28:52.49
9. Kiyoto Suzuki (Meiji Univ.) - 28:55.84
10. Tatsuhiko Ito (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 28:58.58

Heat Three
1. Shunpei Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 29:28.51
2. Takuya Kitasaki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:31.71
3. Mizuki Nagayama (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:33.16
4. Ryosuke Nara (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:35.77
5. Kaito Tsuboi (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:36.60

Heat Two
1. Soshi Suzuki (Waseda Univ.) - 30:02.85
2. Taisei Kato (Meiji Univ.) - 30:04.45
3. Takaki Shuto (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:04.95
4. Shoya Takahashi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 30:05.19
5. Yushi Sato (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 30:05.76

Heat One
1. Hiroki Abe (Meiji Univ.) - 29:25.36
2. Kazuya Yamaguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 30:01.91
3. Tatusya Aoyagi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 30:03.04
4. Mamoru Sasaki (Jobu Univ.) - 30:03.62
5. Fumito Yano (Chuo Univ.) - 30:03.92

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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