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Meet Records at Regional High School Championships Highlight National High School Championships Qualification

by Brett Larner
videos by Ekiden News and 01moroya

Over the last ten days high schools across Japan having been gearing up for next month's National High School Track and Field Championships at ten major regional meets.  Many saw meet records fall in middle and long distances, with the boys' 1500 m in particular seeing an uptick in quality.  Takumi Yokokawa (Nakanojo H.S.) set a 3:48.74 meet record at the North Kanto Region meet, one of two regional winners to break 3:50 along with the Kinki Region's Yuya Nakamura (Osaka Toin H.S.), who ran 3:49.01.  Records also fell in the Chugoku Region, where Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) ran 3:50.58, and the Shikoku Region, where Taku Tomihara (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) ran 3:51.01. 

Results compared well to the weekend's top national-level U.S.A high school meets, where the winning boys' mile times, 4:07.97 by Paul Ryan (Logos Christian School) at the Brooks PR meet and 4:09.23 by Matthew Novak (Deep Run H.S.) at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals meet, convert to 1500 m times of 3:49.81 and 3:50.98 using IAAF scoring tables.



Nakamura doubled back in the 5000 m, running 14:16.52 for 2nd behind Sera H.S. star Kenyan Paul Kamais, whose 13:56.71 win was an easy jog after the 13:21.52 best he set in mid-April.  Kazuya Nishiyama (Tonodai Daisan Prep H.S.), 3rd in the North Kanto Region 1500 m behind Yokokawa in 3:50.27, likewise doubled, setting a meet record 14:15.81 [video above].  The toughest 5000 m competition came in the Tohoku Region, where Kenyans Silas Kingori (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) and John Kariuki (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) battled it out, Kingori getting the win by 3 seconds in 13:53.05, the fastest time in any of the regional meets.  3rd-placer Hyuga Endo (Ishikawa Gakuho H.S.), famed for breaking 14 minutes last year as a 16-year-old, also had the fastest regionals time by a Japanese runner, 14:09.98.  His rival Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.), sub-14 just a few weeks ago, ran only 14:12.52 to win the Kyushu Regional.

With IAAF scoring tables Kingori's and Endo's times convert to 2-mile times of 8:43.21 and 8:53.90, the distance run at Brooks PR and New Balance Outdoor Nationals where the top times were 8:42.51 by Andrew Hunter (Loudoun Valley H.S.) and 8:58.03 by Carter Blunt (Heritage H.S.).  Will Lauer (Sioux Falls Lincoln H.S.) won the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 5000 m in 14:35.71, behind nine of the ten regional winning times in Japan but just ahead of the 14:35.83 meet record by Taku Tomihara (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) in the Shikoku Region.



Kenyan Monica Margaret (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) was the only girl in the country to break 4:20 for 1500 m in any of the regional meets, winning the high-level Tohoku Region in 4:19.02.  Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) was close behind on time, running a 4:20.10 meet record to win the South Kanto Region [video above].  The only other girl to break 4:21 was Tokai Region winner Tomoka Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.) in 4:20.78.  In the U.S., the Brooks PR meet's girls' mile winning time of 4:43.07 by Ella Donaghu (Grant H.S.) converts to 4:23.13 for 1500 m, while the 4:45.23 by New Balance Outdoor Nationals mile winner Ryen Frazier (Ravenscroft H.S.) converts to 4:25.15.

Shimada doubled to win the South Kanto Region girls' 3000 m in a solid 9:10.51, but she was outshone by what may have the performance of the week, a 9:04.81 Chugoku Region high school record by Yuka Mukai (Sera H.S.) that was even faster than the 9:06.91 winning time run by Kenyan Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) in the Tohoku Region.  Brooks PR girls' 2-mile winner Anna Rohrer (Mishawaka H.S.) ran a 9:59.96 that converts to 9:18.18 for 3000 m, with Frazier doubling in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 2-mile with a 10:07.16 win that converts to 9:24.84.



2014 Youth Olympics 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) opened with a national record-pace 2:55 km in the Kinki Region race [video above] before settling down, winning by 2 seconds over her younger sister Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) in 9:11.01.  Kanami Sagayama took 3rd in 9:13.60 to give 2014 National High School Ekiden champion Kunei Joshi Gakuin a sweep of the Kinki Region 3000 m podium.  With Tomomi just joining the team as a first year this spring a repeat title looks likely in December whatever happens on the track next month.

Top Qualifiers for 2015 National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Wakayama, July 28-Aug. 2, 2015
times below were run at the regional qualifier meets and are not PBs

Girls' 3000 m
9:04.81 - MR - Yuka Mukai (Sera H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/20/15
9:06.91 - Helen Ekarare (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - Tohoku Region, 6/16/15
9:10.51 - Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:11.01 - Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/21/15
9:13.35 - Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/21/15
9:13.60 - Kanami Sagayama (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/21/15
9:14.33 - Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:15.60 - Arisu Fuwa (Takasaki Fukushi Prep H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:18.33 - Yuki Kometani (Tokiwa H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:20.07 - Natsuki Sekiya (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:20.23 - Shinobu Koyoshigawa (Sera H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/20/15
9:21.05 - Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/22/15
9:23.44 - Kyoka Kudo (Oita Nishi H.S.) - Kyushu Region, 6/21/15
9:23.53 - Miku Moribayashi (Isehaya H.S.) - Kyushu Region, 6/21/15
9:24.59 - Yuki Shibata (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) - Kyushu Region, 6/21/15
9:24.85 - Mary Sipuko Manela (Kenya/Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - Hokushinetsu Region, 6/21/15
9:24.98 - Mizuki Nishigahara (Okazaki Gakuen H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/21/15

Girls' 1500 m
4:19.02 - Monica Margaret (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) - Tohoku Region, 6/14/15
4:20.10 - MR - Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/20/15
4:20.78 - Tomoka Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
4:21.66 - Kimi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
4:21.99 - Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/20/15
4:22.66 - Chika Tarumoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
4:23.41 - Amiru Akiyama (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
4:23.63 - Waka Ichihara (Wakamatsu H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/20/15
4:23.84 - Kanami Hiraga (Junten H.S.) - South Kanto Region, 6/20/15
4:24.04 - Arisu Fuwa (Takasaki Fukushi Prep H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/20/15
4:24.09 - Yuka Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
4:24.21 - Kana Tsuchida (Niigata Meikun H.S.) - Hokushinetsu Region, 6/19/15
4:24.66 - Yumi Matsui (Toyokawa H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
4:24.95 - Yuki Kometani (Tokiwa H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/20/15

Boys' 5000 m
13:53.05 - Silas Kingori (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - Tohoku Region, 6/14/15
13:56.53 - John Kariuki (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) - Tohoku Region, 6/14/15
13:56.71 - Paul Kamais (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/20/15
14:09.98 - Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - Tohoku Region, 6/14/15
14:12.14 - Isaac Mburugu Nduro (Kenya/Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - Hokushinetsu Region, 6/21/15
14:12.52 - Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - Kyushu Region, 6/19/15
14:15.81 - MR - Kazuya Nishiyama (Tonodai Daisan Prep H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/20/15
14:16.02 - Keiichiro Otsubo (Tosu Kogyo H.S.) - Kyushu Region, 6/19/15
14:16.42 - Kiseki Shiozawa (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/21/15
14:16.52 - Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/20/15
14:16.86 - Daichi Takasako (Hokuyo Kandai Prep H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/21/15
14:17.38 - Tomoki Ota (Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/21/15
14:17.88 - Jun Kato (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/21/15

Boys' 1500 m
3:48.74 - MR - Takumi Yokokawa (Nakanojo H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/19/15
3:49.01 - Yuya Nakamura (Osaka Toin H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
3:50.00 - Atsuya Ubukata (Sano Nichidai Prep H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/19/15
3:50.26 - Kazuki Kawamura (Ogaki Nichidai Prep H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
3:50.27 - Kazuya Nishiyama (Tonodai Daisan Prep H.S.) - North Kanto Region, 6/19/15
3:50.45 - Kiseki Shiozawa (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
3:50.58 - MR - Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/19/15
3:51.01 - MR - Taku Tomihara (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) - Shikoku Region, 6/20/15
3:51.03 - Haruki Nishimura (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
3:51.10 - Satoshi Tsuboi (Ogaki Nichidai Prep H.S.) - Tokai Region, 6/19/15
3:51.11 - Ryo Tsujikawa (Zeze H.S.) - Kinki Region, 6/19/15
3:51.37 - Hiroyuki Inoue (Sera H.S.) - Chugoku Region, 6/19/15

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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