Chiba, Japan - Toledo senior Emma Kertesz finished third overall in the fourth stage of the 2012 International Chiba Ekiden on Friday, a 42.195km 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 U.S.A. collegiate runner with a time of 16:25 over 5km. She passed Russian Svetlana Kireyeva to lift the U.S.A 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.A 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 ('12) ran at the NACAC Cross Country Championships in Trinidad, helping the USA team win a gold medal.
Former Toledo All-American Briana Shook ('04) 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, in a new personal-record time of 32:51, at the USA 10km Championships in Boston, MA on Oct. 8.
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.