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Hosei University Leads National University Men's Ekiden Qualifiers



The Kanto Region Qualifier for this fall's 50th National University Men's Ekiden happened Saturday at Saitama's Urawa Komaba Stadium. The meet is made up of four heats of 10000 m with two runners from each competing school in each heat, the aggregate times of its eight runners determining a school's total time. The eight fastest programs go on to join other regional qualifiers and the six seeded teams already on the bill for November's Nationals. Considering that it's been since 2009 since a school from outside Kanto made the top ten at Nationals and 1999 since one made the seeded top six, what happens at the Kanto Region Qualifier has a lot of weight on what happens come ekiden season.

10th at Nationals last year, Hosei University's fortunes continued to climb as it took the top spot in 4:06:08.63 by less than 12 seconds over last year's 11-th placer Koku Gakuin University. Hosei 4th-year Yuta Bando led the way with a win in Heat Three in 30:40.75, six of its eight men making the top six in their heats. Josai University and Meiji University guaranteed themselves return trips at 3rd and 4th, overtaking last year's Nationals 8th-placer Teikyo University which was down in strength this year at 5th despite heat wins by first-year Daichi Endo and third-year Issei Iwasa.

6th in the qualifying results, Nittai University was the top-placing school to make it back to Nationals after an absence last year. Led by 3000 mSC national champion Kazuya Shiojiri, Juntendo University picked up the 7th spot, with the final qualifying position going to the Nihon University squad fronted by Kenyan Patrick Mathenge Wambui, winner of the fastest heat in 29:13.11.

8th at the 2016 Nationals, Takushoku University was the firs non-qualifier, 9th at almost 24 seconds behind Nihon largely on a poor 15th-place run by Ethiopian captain Workneh Derese in the final heat.   14th at Nationals last year, Daito Bunka University was knocked out of this year's bracket at 10th. Missing Kenyan fourth-year Dominic Nyairo, last year's 9th-placer Yamanashi Gakuin University also finished outside the fold at 11th. High-ranked contender Chuo University was knocked out of competition when fourth-year Kohei Sekiguchi DNFd in the first heat.

50th National University Men's Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

Urawa Komaba Stadium, Saitama, 6/30/18
four heats of track 1000 m
complete results

Team Results - aggregate time of eight runners
1. Hosei University - 4:06:08.63
2. Koku Gakuin University - 4:06:20.02
3. Josai University - 4:06.50.86
4. Meiji University - 4:07:14.01
5. Teikyo University - 4:07:23.33
6. Nittai University - 4:08:18.59
7. Juntendo University - 4:08:47.52
8. Nihon University - 4:08:52.78
----- top 8 qualify for Nationals
9. Takushoku University - 4:09:29.94
10. Daito Bunka University - 4:09:34.21
11. Yamanashi Gakuin University - 4:09:55.12
12. Kokushikan University - 4:10:04.80
13. Soka University - 4:10:41.19
14. Tokyo Kokusai University - 4:11:18.30
15. Tokyo Nogyo University - 4:11:47.58
16. Tsukuba University - 4:12:29.91
17. Jobu University - 4:12:47.32
18. Asia Universtiy - 4:15:23.39
19. Senshu University - 4:15:39.00
DNF - Chuo University

Top Individual Results
Heat One - Daichi Endo (1st yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 30:48.58
Heat Two - Issei Iwasa (3rd yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 30:57.55
Heat Three - Yuta Bando (4th yr., Hosei Univ.) - 30:40.75
Heat Four - Patrick Mathenge Wambui (4th yr., Nihon Univ.) - 29:13.11

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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