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\n\t\t\t\t\tCourtesy of Japan Running Blog:

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\n\t\t\t\t\tKojokan Wins National High School Girls Ekiden 

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\n\t\t\t\t\tby Brett Larner
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\n\t\t\t\t\tThanks in part to outstanding performances from the identical twinAkamatsu sisters on the final two stages,Kojokan H.S. took its second-ever national title at the 2010 National High School Girls Ekiden, holding off two-time defending champion Toyokawa H.S. by 16 seconds after battling the strong Suma Gakuen H.S. throughout the ekiden.
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\n\t\t\t\t\tKojokan's Katsuki Suga got the team off to a good start, winning the 6 km First Stage by a margin of 6 seconds. Suma Gakuen'sRisa Yokoe caught up on the Second Stage, running a stage best to finish the leg dead even with Kojokan's Miyuki Oka. Suma Gakuen's Third Stage runner Mika Kobayashi likewise turned in a stage best, giving the school an 8 second lead after Kojokan'sManami Takehisa finished only 9th on the stage.
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\n\t\t\t\t\tEverything turned around on the 3.0 km Fourth Stage. Kojokan'sHiroka Akamatsu, the lesser-known of its star Akamatsu twins, seized back the lead, taking the stage best with a strong 9:35. Suma Gakuen's Natsuki Hara was only 9th on the stage in 9:55. Akamatsu handed off to her sister Mahiro Akamatsu, the Asian junior 3000 m champion and national high school 1500 m champion, with a lead of 12 seconds over Suma Gakuen. Behind the two leading schools, defending champion Toyokawa and powerhouse Sendai Ikuei H.S. handed off to Kenyan anchorsMurugi Wainaina and Mary Wydira.
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\n\t\t\t\t\tAkamatsu, who was tripped twice by the same person on the First Stage last year, successfully held off both Wainaina and Wydira to give Kojokan the national title. Wainaina, stage best winner on the anchor leg last year, did her best to bridge the gap but despite again taking the stage best title could not catch Akamatsu. Wydira ran together with Wainaina but lost ground in the final kilometer and finished 6 seconds back with the second best time on the stage. Akamatsu recorded the third-best stage time.
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\n\t\t\t\t\t2010 National High School Girls Ekiden
\n\t\t\t\t\tTop Team Results - 21.0975 km
\n\t\t\t\t\tclick here for complete results in Japanese
\n\t\t\t\t\t1. Kojokan H.S. - 1:07:50
\n\t\t\t\t\t2. Toyokawa H.S. - 1:08:06
\n\t\t\t\t\t3. Sendai Ikuei H.S. - 1:08:12
\n\t\t\t\t\t4. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. - 1:08:58
\n\t\t\t\t\t5. Kita Kyushu Municipal H.S. - 1:08:59
\n\t\t\t\t\t6. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - 1:08:59
\n\t\t\t\t\t7. Tokiwa H.S. - 1:09:02

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\n\t\t\t\t\tStage Best Performances
\n\t\t\t\t\tclick here for complete results in Japanese
\n\t\t\t\t\tclick stage headers for video highlights
\n\t\t\t\t\tFirst Stage (6.0 km) - Katsuki Suga (Kojokan H.S.) - 19:29
\n\t\t\t\t\tSecond Stage (4.0975 km) - Risa Yokoe (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 12:44
\n\t\t\t\t\tThird Stage (3.0 km) - Mika Kobayashi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:51
\n\t\t\t\t\tNana Fukuzaki (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 9:51
\n\t\t\t\t\tShiho Takeda (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:51
\n\t\t\t\t\tFourth Stage (3.0 km) - Hiroka Akamatsu (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:35
\n\t\t\t\t\tFifth Stage (5.0 km) - Murugi Wainaina (Toyokawa H.S.) - 15:40
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\n\t\t\t\t\t(c) 2010 Brett Larner
\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\"\"Click photo for short video highlights.\n\t\t\t\t

\n\t\t\t\t\tCourtesy of Japan Running Blog:

\n\t\t\t\tKagoshima Jitsugyo H.S. unexpectedly ran down defending champion Sera H.S. on the final two stages to win a dramatic 2010 National High School Boys Ekiden, its first-ever national title in the event's 61-year history.
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\n\t\t\t\tKazuto Nishiike (Suma Gakuen H.S.), who finished 0.02 seconds out of the medals in the boys' 3000 m at last summer's Youth Olympics, took the race out hard with a 29:35 for the 10 km First Stage. Kagoshima Jitsugyo's Takashi Ichida was just 3 seconds back, with another 5 seconds separating Ichida from pursuers Sendai Ikuei H.S. and Kyushu Gakuin H.S. Suma Gakuen's Second Stage runner Yudai Yamamoto lengthened the team's lead over Sendai Ikuei and Kyushu Gakuin, while Kagoshima Jitsugyo fell to 7th.
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\n\t\t\t\tThe 8.1075 km Third Stage, a showcase for the top Kenyan high schoolers in Japan, saw a shakeup to the runner as defending champions Sera H.S.' new ace Charles Ndirangu delivered a big performance. With a 36 second deficit at the start of the stage Ndirangu moved up from 10th to the lead, running dead even with Samuel Wanjiru's stage record and ultimately finishing just 1 second off Wanjiru's seemingly unbreakable mark of 22:40. Michael Getange (Aomori Yamada H.S.) likewise had a strong run to move into 2nd ahead of Wanjiru's alma mater Sendai Ikuei, Kagoshima Jitsugyo, Kyushu Gakuin and 2008 national champion Saku Chosei H.S.
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\n\t\t\t\tSendai Ikuei made the strategic decision to put its current Kenyan Bernard Waweru on Fourth Stage, usually the sign of a weaker athlete, but Waweru was successful in moving Sendai Ikuei into 2nd with a stage best run. Sera held a lead of 18 seconds over Sendai Ikuei at stage's end, with Kyushu Gakuin moving up to finish the stage dead even with cross-island rivals Kagoshima Jitsugyo. Kagoshima Jitsugyo pulled away on the Fifth Stage, overtaking Aomori Yamada for 3rd but failing to make dent in Sera's 28 second lead. But Kagoshima was saving its best for last.
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\n\t\t\t\tKagoshima Jitsugyo's Hiroshi Ichida, the twin brother of its First Stage runner Takashi, took the stage best to put his team in range. Ichida outran Sera's Takuya Fujikawa by 14 seconds, cutting the lead in half. Kagoshima anchor Koki Takada quickly ran down stunningly named Sera anchor Naruhei Daikuya. Entering the track together for the final 500 m, Takada waited until the very last 250 m to kick away from Daikuya, winning by a margin of 6 seconds and just sneaking under 2:04. Kyushu Gakuin overtook Sendai Ikuei for 3rd, with Suma Gakuen moving back ahead of Aomori Yamada thanks to a Fifth Stage best by Takuma Sano. 2008 winner Saku Chosei, a virtual factory for top high school talent in the last 7 or 8 years, was only 7th.
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\n\t\t\t\tIn a post-race interview with TV broadcaster NHK, Kagoshima Jitsugyo head coach Sadanori Kamioka commented, "When we finished the First Stage in 2nd I was very confident because I knew we had our strongest runners on Sixth and Seventh. With 1 km to go I knew we had it." Anchor Takada agreed, saying, "When I caught up to the leader at 4 km I decided just to take it easy the rest of the way and outkick him on the track. I had planned to outkick him with 150 m to go but could see he was struggling so I went a little farther out." Kamioka thanked the people of Kagoshima prefecture for the school's first national title, saying, "This victory was won by everyone in Kagoshima."
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\n\t\t\t\t2010 National High School Boys Ekiden
\n\t\t\t\tTop Team Results - 42.195 km
\n\t\t\t\tclick here for complete results in Japanese
\n\t\t\t\t1. Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S. - 2:03:59
\n\t\t\t\t2. Sera H.S. - 2:04:05
\n\t\t\t\t3. Kyushu Gakuin H.S. - 2:04:24
\n\t\t\t\t4. Sendai Ikuei H.S. - 2:04:47
\n\t\t\t\t5. Suma Gakuen H.S. - 2:05:26
\n\t\t\t\t6. Aomori Yamada H.S. - 2:05:33
\n\t\t\t\t7. Saku Chosei H.S. - 2:05:50
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\n\t\t\t\tStage Best Performances
\n\t\t\t\tclick here for complete results
\n\t\t\t\tclick stage headers for video highlights
\n\t\t\t\tFirst Stage (10.0 km) - Kazuto Nishiike (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 29:35
\n\t\t\t\tSecond Stage (3.0 km) - Yudai Yamamoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 8:18
\n\t\t\t\tThird Stage (8.1075 km) - Charles Ndirangu (Sera H.S.) - 22:41
\n\t\t\t\tFourth Stage (8.0875 km) - Bernard Waweru (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 23:27
\n\t\t\t\tFifth Stage (3.0 km) - Takuma Sano (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 8:43
\n\t\t\t\tSixth Stage (5.0 km) - Hiroshi Ichida (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 14:40
\n\t\t\t\tSeventh Stage (5.0 km) - Koki Takada (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 14:31
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\n\t\t\t\t(c) 2010 Brett Larner
\n\t\t\t\tall rights reserved\n\t\t\t\t

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\n\t\t\t\t\tPreview of 2010 National High School Ekiden Championships

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\n\t\t\t\t\tPREVIEW: The 2010 National High School Ekiden Championships take place Sunday, Dec. 26. Overseas viewers who want to watch 2011's version of NHK's live, commercial-free broadcast via Keyhole TV should try clicking here. If a password is required, enter the letters NHK.The girls' ekiden runs from 10:05 to 11:54 a.m. Japan time, with the boys' ekiden beginning at 12:15 and ending at 2:52 p.m.

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\n\t\t\t\t\thttp://www.koukouekiden.jp/   ekiden's own website
\n\t\t\t\t\thttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekiden
\n\t\t\t\t\thttp://www.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20101226/t10013075851000.html

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