“It’s finally my turn!”
Kisaragi, the class president, was excited as she said that. She was more enthusiastic than at practice, perhaps because she didn’t have a turn in the morning. It seems that in this sports festival, the boys play in the morning and the girls play in the afternoon. And both groups play an important role in the final relay.
“Is everyone ready for the warm-up exercises?”
Kisaragi then asked the girls in her class who would be participating in the obstacle race together. The team is made up of relatively athletic girls, and they are expected to do quite well. Among them, Kisaragi is the ace of the track and field club and has a great responsibility. She will be participating in two of the three events, so it’s no exaggeration to say that our class future success or failure will depend on her. In fact, our class is in a position to turn things around depending on her performance.
“We’re counting on you, Kisaragi. We didn’t do so well earlier.”
“Leave it to me ! I’m going to take the championship !”
Hayama and the other boys are cheering on the girls with all their might. There’s still a relay left for Hayama, but I guess he wants to do what he can. The same goes for the rest of the boys.
Yukihana, who’s also scheduled to run in the final relay, has been silent since the afternoon session began. Kisaragi was worried because she had disappeared after she finished ball tossing in the morning, but she avoided following her and slipped into the waiting space of the class with a casual face. She had a look on her face that said she was no longer interested in winning or losing. She probably didn’t care whether the class won or lost. Or maybe she just wants to watch her brother’s performance as a spectator.
[Thank you for waiting, everyone. The sports festival will resume from now on. All participating students please assemble at the waiting area.]
When Kisaragi and the others had finished their preparations, an announcement echoed throughout the hall. Kisaragi and her team will be playing in the second game……I believe.
There are various obstacles placed on the ground. First of all, there was a hurdle right after the start. Then there was a balancing platform. And beyond that, there was a net placed haphazardly on the ground. Apparently, you have to go under the net. And beyond that, there are various things placed on the ground, and it’s quite large. If I really wanted to finish this obstacle race, it would take me about a minute…..or maybe half of that?
As I was analyzing the obstacle race, the announcement was made again to the entire venue.
[Here are the rules of the obstacle race. Each of the six classes chosen at random will compete for the total time, and the class with the shortest total time will win. The three classes that win in each match will advance to the finals. We will tell you in advance which table you will be at, so please make sure to check carefully so you don’t make a mistake.]
The interesting thing about this match is that you are not told in advance which class you will be competing against. In other words, you only find out who you are going to fight when you go to the waiting area on the ground. How will this system affect the outcome of the tournament?
[Then let’s start the first match !]
As I was pondering this, the signal to start the match suddenly echoed through the hall. Before I knew it, the girls who had come out jumped over the obstacles, dived under them, and ran.
Then I see the girls running one after another on the ground, but there’s nothing particularly spectacular about them. It seems that Kisaragi, Shinkai, Nanase and the others will be fighting in the second game or later. And it was confirmed that one of these girls, or maybe all of them, would be fighting on the same field.
(If anyone is going to win, it’s going to be…..that guy, I guess.)
As expected, there will be no more girls in this school with more physical ability than them. I heard that the step sister is also reasonably good among the general students, but she’s not as good as those three. Unless, of course, there are uncertainties and irregular rules.
(Come to think of it, I haven’t heard any stories about my step sister’s athletic skills.)
I don’t know how athletic my step sister is, as I just realized with a bit of brainstorming. I know she can study and do housework better than most people, but that’s it. She said she was going to run in the relay, but I wonder if I’ll get to see how serious she is……
Just as I was thinking that, the first match was over. I didn’t even see which class won, but I heard it was a very exciting match there. The cheering students inside the hall were as excited as in the morning.
[Next, we will start the second match. Students who wish to participate should go to the waiting area at……]
Then, an announcement was made to start the second match. Kisaragi and the others had already moved and appeared towards the ground. I have to watch the match seriously from here on. And the important opponent is…..
Our class opponent was a class led by Shinkai Sakura. There are various other girls as well, but that’s about it for opponents. In other words, if you don’t beat Shinkai, you can’t advance to the finals.
“It’s time to settle that score.”
“Yes. Last time we drew, but I’m going to win this time !”
If there’s anyone who has a chance of beating Shinkai, Kisaragi is the only one in our class. Of course, in this competition, the winner is determined by the total team time, not the individual’s time of individual, but from what I have seen, Shinkai’s class and my class are very competitive. I can’t predict how this match will turn out.
I’ll just have to wait and see.
(When did I become friends with Sakura?)
I don’t remember exactly when it all started. Because of this personality, I was always out of control. But there was one person who was good friends with me for a year. Now she stands in front of me as an opponent.
(I know best how great Sakura is.)
Because I had been watching her for a year, I was able to experience firsthand how great a person my best friend was. She can do most anything, and she can keep up with the foot speed I had worked so hard to acquire in the track and field club with plenty of time to spare. I don’t know how many times I thought about the significance of my existence, because there was someone next to me who could do what I could do more efficiently and with greater results.
“Kisaragi san, are you okay?”
“!? Yes, I’m fine !”
Yes, I’m fine!
It seems that my anxiety was reflected on my face unintentionally, causing my classmates to worry. I was the leader of this obstacle race, so I reminded myself that I shouldn’t look like that and pulled myself together.
(I mustn’t be overwhelmed forever. Today, I’m going to win !)
I’ve lost a lot of tests, but I’ve won a few times in sports and other events. When we ran together in relay practice the other day, I was so nervous that I started a little late. Paradoxically, if I hadn’t been late at the start then, I would’ve definitely won. This time, there are obstacles, but not much different from before. I wondered how far I could go in such a situation.
“Kisaragi san, hurry up, hurry up !”
“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m coming !”
I was talking about my limits when the girls called out to me. Apparently, I had to move to the starting position. And as I moved to that spot, the person I had thought of so many times was waiting for me with a smile on her face.
Even though I made eye contact with Sakura, no conversation occurred. It’s because we understand each other deeply, even if there’s no need to talk about unnecessary things on this occasion. What’s more, by some coincidence, Sakura seems to run on the same track. What kind of coincidence is it that we are running in the same track? No, I’m sure it’s inevitable that we’ll be competing here.
[Now then, let’s start the second match !]
After we had finished lining up, the obstacle race started with a high-tension announcement. This is a type of competition in which you have to go through obstacles and go around the ground, and you cannot start until the person in front of you has reached the goal. There is no baton like in a relay race, and the runner can start only when the previous runner crosses the finish line. My turn to start is the fourth in my class.
“Go for it ! ! !”
In the meantime, I just tried to cheer on my classmates. At first we were off to a good start, but then the second runner fell down halfway through the race, and I found that my class was running far behind Sakura’s class, which was in first place.
In a situation where we were in a tight spot and everyone thought it was impossible to make it, I just foolishly prayed.
“Please…..hang in there ! ! !”
Perhaps my prayers were answered, because the third girl to start was very active and managed to get into about third place. And just like that, we’re coming back toward the starting point. She did so well that the class cheered for her.
Maybe I can make it. Just as I thought that, Sakura was starting in the next lane. The third runner in her class had already reached the goal. The gap between her and the other runners in my class was so big that it could not be compared to that practice session.
(At this rate, I’m going to lose……)
For a moment, I was convinced that I was going to lose, but then I realized that I would be the same person I had been before, and I immediately dismissed my fears. Depending on how much time I spend on the obstacles, I may still be able to turn things around.
“Kisaragi san, please !”
I ran almost as soon as the girl in front of me stepped on the finish line. I turned the anxiety I had been building up into running power, and completely shut out the angry voices echoing from around me. For now, all I could think about was moving forward !
The one who raised a puzzled voice behind me was a girl from another class who was running in front of me in second place until a few minutes ago. I caught up to Sakura, who was in first place. Sakura had just run brilliantly over the balancing platform.
(Heck, I don’t have time to think about balance or stride !)
If you are conscious of your balance, you will inevitably have to slow down and run. But if I did that, it would be hopeless to catch up with Sakura. What should I do then? I don’t need to think about that. I’m just going to keep running !
“And, oryaaah ! ! !”
I leapt forward with all my might and ran across the balancing platform as if I were slamming into it with my feet. It was about four meters long, but it took me about four steps.
「「「「「「「「「「Whoa ! ! !」」」」」」」」」」
The crowd cheered loudly at the acrobatic feat. Sakura also looked back and widened her eyes in amazement. There are only a few obstacles left. Overtake in the meantime !
“……You’re doing a great job, Yuu !”
Sakura, on the other hand, muttered to herself and crawled through the net in front of her. This uses upper body strength, so Kisaragi, who’s in the track and field team and concentrates on training her lower body…..I thought so.
(Absolutely, win !)
This persistence is what drives Kisaragi Yuu. Originally, the track and field team always trains the whole body, regardless of whether it is the upper or lower body. Her core and physical strength were also trained beyond her imagination, and although she was inferior in instantaneous force, she was slightly superior to Sakura in endurance.
(I-I caught up ! !)
By the time I had passed through the net, I was completely running one step behind my best friend. But beyond this point, there were no more obstacles, just a short run. In other words, as a member of the track and field team, this was my specialty.
“I won’t lose ! !”
But of course, Shinkai Sakura is also good at it. The only thing that mattered in this short-distance run was not a contest of physical strength or technique, but a clash of wills.
[ [Haaaaahhhh ! ! ! !] ]
Both of us became a single line of wind and ran in the white line. There was no time to think about anything, we just ran through desperately. We weren’t concerned about beautiful form or beautiful running style, we just kept moving forward. But the feeling was mutual.
I just want to give it my all and win against my rival !
“Make it ! ! !”
I shouted and took a giant leap. I decided that I couldn’t win if I kept running at a constant speed, so I took the gamble of using all my leg strength to leap. And the result is…..
The goddess of victory smiled on me.
“I did it.”
I fell into a heap on the spot, biting my teeth at my victory. I looked at the start of the track and saw that the next runner had already started. Thanks to my finishing first, albeit slightly ahead of her, I was galloping through the field in first place. The second group of runners was following, but the gap between them was widening little by little. At this rate, I would be able to beat the second year group 2.
Thanks to the serious battle of willpower between Sakura and I, there was a big gap between second and third place. With that, we would never be overtaken by the class behind us.
“No matter how hard you try, would you normally catch up to them from there?”
“Hehehe, I did my best.”
“Good grief, Yuu. You always do things that I never expected.”
I try to calm down Sakura, who starts muttering, and I feel a little proud that my best friend thinks so. It seems that the bond I have built with Sakura over the past year is real. Because I’m so happy that I was able to beat my best friend.
And after that, the obstacle race went on smoothly. And by the end of the second match, most spectators were convinced that my class was the winner. Or perhaps it was confirmed when I had a good time to move up from third place to first place.
[The winner of the second obstacle race match was Class 2-1 ! !]
And so we, the first class of the second year, advanced to the finals of the obstacle race.
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