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In the tightest finish ever in the Far East high school cross-country meet, Seoul American edged defending champion Kadena of Okinawa for the team title on a tiebreaker, giving coach Clark Bean a long-sought Far East crown a year after he considered retiring.

“To win this, it takes a total team effort, and that was us today,” said the veteran coach.

In Tuesday’s mixed 6.2-mile relay, Seoul American’s five pairs of runners scored 45 points, while Kadena’s girl-boy teams tallied 51 for second place. That result, combined with the individual races on Monday in which Kadena got one point for winning the boys race and two points for placing second in the girls race, and Seoul American got one point from its girls victory and three from the boys’ third-place finish, left the teams tied with five points each.

The mixed-team relay served as the tiebreaker, giving the Falcons the crown.

Bean credited his entire complement of runners for helping Seoul American capture the team relay.

“All of them came through,” he said, before singling out No. 5 boys runner Sean Brown. “Brown, he’s my fastest sprinter. He put us over the top.”

Said Kadena coach Tom McKinney: “They came prepared to beat us. They came out and performed better than we did.”

McKinney, at Seoul American until 2004, used to teach most of the Falcons.

“Now, I know what they can do. And I know what I have to do to revamp my program and get my runners stronger,” he said. “It gives me something to shoot for.”

The overall team standings mirrored the finish order of the relay. Kubasaki of Okinawa took third, followed by host Robert D. Edgren, Guam High, Nile C. Kinnick and Yokota of Japan and Osan American of Korea. Five schools fielded incomplete teams.

Bean will return eight of his 10 runners, three boys and all five of his girls who went unbeaten in Korea this season.

“I was going to retire last year,” Bean said. “But now that I’ve felt this kind of feeling, I may teach and coach for 10 or 12 more years.”

Far East High School Cross Country MeetAt Gosser Memorial Golf Course,

Misawa Air Base, Japan

Tuesday

Final overall team standings

1, x-Seoul American, 5; 2, Kadena, Okinawa, 5; 3, x-Kubasaki, Okinawa, 10; 4, Robert D. Edgren, Japan, 10; 5, Guam High, 15; 6, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan, 18; 7, Yokota, Japan, 21; 8, Osan American, South Korea, 29.

x-won tiebreaker based on higher finish in Tuesday’s team relay.

Mixed-team relay

Based on total points earned by complete teams entering five pairs of runners, taking turns running two legs of 3.1 miles each, boy and girl.

1, Seoul American, 45; 2, Kadena, Okinawa, 51; 3, Kubasaki, Okinawa, 75; 4, Robert D. Edgren, Japan, 83; 5, Guam High, 112; 6, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan, 114; 7, Yokota, Japan, 152; 8, Osan American, South Korea, 188.

Boys All-Far East team

Matt Evans, Guam High; Tim Nabonne, Kadena; Nick Green, Edgren; Brent Schuck, Matthew C. Perry, Japan; Ben Zendejas, Kadena; Peter Kamau, Edgren; David Krievs, Kubasaki; Kevin Blackburn, Zama American, Japan; Billy Groves, Seoul American; Chris Tobiere, Edgren.

Girls All-Far East team

Victoria Lyle, Kadena; Cathryn Furner, Seoul American; Sarah Yance, Seoul American; Niki Kauzlarich, Kadena; Jade Thrasher, Edgren; Dianne Abel, Kadena; Beth Nielsen, Kubasaki; Jillian Busby, Seoul American; Tanisha Thomas, Seoul American, Stephanie Gamboa, Kubasaki.

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