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World Juniors Silver Medalist Kitagawa Leads First Day of National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

With temperatures clipping 35 degrees the 2014 National Track and Field Championships kicked off July 30 in Kofu, Yamanashi, home ground of 2013 National High School Boys' Ekiden champion Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.  The biggest news on the first of the meet's five days of competition came in the boys' 400 m.  48 hours after helping the Japanese team win silver in the 4x400 m relay at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, U.S.A., Takamasa Kitagawa (Uruga H.S.) swept through the competition, winning his opening round heat in 48.22 and his semi-final in 47.23 before taking the final in 46.57, the 10th-fastest time ever by a Japanese high schooler.  Satoshi Yamamoto (Amakusa Kogyo H.S.) gave Kitagawa a solid challenge in the final but had to settle for 2nd in 46.61.  Seika Aoyama (Matsue Shogyo H.S.) had a clearer margin of victory in the girls' 400 m final, winning the national title in 53.73 by 0.21 seconds over runner-up Nanako Matsumoto (Hamamatsu Civic H.S.).

The day's hottest temperatures came in time for the boys' and girls' 1500 m qualifying heats.  Masahide Saito (Waseda Prep Jitsugyo H.S.) and Renya Maeda (Funabashi Civic H.S.) led the way in the boys' qualifiers, both going under 3:52 in Heat 3.  Five more runners in Heats 2 and 3 cleared 3:53, with Heat 1 winner Tsubasa Komuro (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) and Heat 4 winner Motoki Nabeshima (Katsura H.S.) both over 3:55.  Kenyan Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) led the girls' qualifiers in 4:23.96 in Heat 2, the only girl to clear 4:24, but eight other runners including Heat 2 runner-up Karin Yasumoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.), Heat 4 winner Mina Kato (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) and Heat 3 winner Yuka Kobayashi (Tokiwa H.S.) finished within 0.68 seconds of her time, promising an exciting final.

The 2014 National High School Track and Field Championships continue through Aug. 3.  The entire meet is being streamed live over four channels, one each for track events, jumps, throws and combined events.  Click here to watch the live streams, which are continuous virtually all day Japanese time.  Click here for a complete meet schedule.

2014 National High School Track and Field Championships Day One
Kofu, Yamanashi, July 30
click here for official results
click here for comprehensive results in English

Boys' 400 m Final
1. Takamasa Kitagawa (Uruga H.S.) - 46.57
2. Satoshi Yamamoto (Amakusa Kogyo H.S.) - 46.61
3. Manato Sasaki (Morioka Minami H.S.) - 47.37
4. Kazuki Ota (Numazu Higashi H.S.) - 47.71
5. Takeshi Iwamoto (Kyoto Ryoyo H.S.) - 47.79
6. Shota Terai (Isahaya H.S.) - 47.93
7. Yuto Asakawa (Nagano Prefectural H.S.) - 48.28
8. Kazuki Nomura (Miyazaki Kogyo H.S.) - 48.44

Girls' 400 m Final
1. Seika Aoyama (Matsue Shogyo H.S.) - 53.73
2. Nanako Matsumoto (Hamamatsu Civic H.S.) - 53.94
3. Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 54.63
4. Miyu Mori (Tohoku H.S.) - 54.79
5. Yuna Iwata (Niijima Gakuen H.S.) - 55.00
6. Ayaha Kimoto (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 55.11
7. Masumi Okuda (Tokyo H.S.) - 56.10
8. Yuka Kyotani (Kushiro Konan H.S.) - 57.28

Boys' 1500 m Qualifiers
Masahide Saito (Waseda Prep Jitsugyo H.S.) - 3:51.35 (Heat 3)
Renya Maeda (Funabashi Civic H.S.) - 3:51.83 (Heat 3)
Haruki Nishimura (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 3:52.59 (Heat 3)
Takanori Hayashi (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:52.75 (Heat 2)
Ko Kobayashi (Toyo Prep Ushiku H.S.) - 3:52.88 (Heat 2)
Kaito Yamamura (Kobayashi H.S.) - 3:52.93 (Heat 3)
Yota Endo (Yamagata Minami H.S.) - 3:52.98 (Heat 2)
Ryuya Kajiya (Hakuo Prep Ashikaga H.S.) - 3:53.08 (Heat 2)
Naoto Ozawa (Kusatsu Higashi H.S.) - 3:53.37 (Heat 2)
Taisei Hashizume (Wakayama Kita H.S.) - 3:53.38 (Heat 3)
Motoki Nabeshima (Katsura H.S.) - 3:55.46 (Heat 4)
Takehiro Matsuda (Sabae H.S.) - 3:55.56 (Heat 4)
Shoma Funatsu (Fukuoka Prep Ohori H.S.) - 3:55.57 (Heat 4)
Tsubasa Komuro (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 3:56.81 (Heat 1)
Takeshi Okada (Koku Gakuin Prep Kugayama H.S.) - 3:56.95 (Heat 1)
Kohei Arai (Urawa Jitsugyo H.S.) - 3:57.05 (Heat 1)

Girls' 1500 m Qualifiers
Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 4:23.96 (Heat 2)
Karin Yasumoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 4:24.06 (Heat 2)
Mina Kato (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 4:24.11 (Heat 4)
Hinano Yamada (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:24.12 (Heat 2)
Arisa Yamamoto (Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S.) - 4:24.33 (Heat 2)
Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:24.38 (Heat 2)
Mina Ueda (Narita H.S.) - 4:24.49 (Heat 4)
Yuka Kobayashi (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:24.59 (Heat 3)
Yuki Kometani (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:24.64 (Heat 4)
Nodoka Aoki (Mashita Seifu H.S.) - 4:25.07 (Heat 4)
Yuka Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:25.10 (Heat 4)
Kanako Yahagi (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 4:25.74 (Heat 3)
Sayuri Shiratori (Sahara H.S.) - 4:26.17 (Heat 3)
Ayaka Nakagawa (Shohei Gakuen H.S.) - 4:26.79 (Heat 1)
Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 4:26.85 (Heat 1)
Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:26.99 (Heat 1)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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