Toledo senior Emma Kertesz finished third overall in the fourth stage of the 2012 International Chiba Ekiden Friday, a 42.19-kilometer relay race broken up into six stages with coed teams from 15 countries.Kertesz, a 2012 All-American in track, ran exceptionally well as the only USA collegiate runner; she posted a time of 16:25 over 5 kilometers. She passed Russian Svetlana Kireyeva to lift the U.S. team from fourth to third place, while opening a sizable gap before handing off to Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist Galen Rupp.
Rupp was able to win his stage, but the U.S. team stayed in third place the rest of the way, earning the bronze medal with a total time of 2:06.36.
“I am so proud of Emma,” UT Head Coach Kevin Hadsell said. “The goal of this fall was to take one giant leap forward and to make this team. It played out perfectly, and I am excited to see what she is capable of doing on the track. It will be incredible.”
Kertesz became the second Rocket to represent the USA at an international event this year. Last spring, former All-American Ari Fisher, who graduated in May, ran at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association Cross Country Championships in Trinidad, helping the U.S. team win a gold medal.
Former Toledo All-American Briana Shook, a 2004 UT graduate, was the first Rocket to run on the USA Road Relay Team. The former American record holder helped lead USA to a bronze medal at the Ekiden Relay in Beijing, China, in 2004.
Kertesz was named to the Ekiden Relay Team following her fourth-place finish with a new personal-record time of 32:51 at the USA 10-kilometer championships in Boston in October.
For the second year in a row, Kenya and Japan battled back and forth for the lead of the International Chiba Ekiden, with Kenya pulling ahead to a narrow victory in 2:05:06 to Japan’s 2:05:16.
Russia, the Japanese University Select Team, Canada, New Zealand and hosts Chiba Prefecture rounded out the top eight, with New Zealand’s twins Jake and Zane Robertson winning their stages.