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Keiai Girls Break 4x400 m High School National Record - National High School Championships Day Five Results

by Brett Larner
videos by aoshin0507 and Ekiden News

The 2016 Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships wrapped up with a bang, the last three races delivering some of the best action seen in the meet's five days.  The girls' 3000 m final was out fast from the gun, a 68 second first lap immediately separating most of the field from a six-strong front pack that included Kenyans Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Tabita Njeri Kamau (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.), Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) and Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) and Japanese runners Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) and Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.).  The front group stayed together through 2000 m, splitting 2:56 and 5:59 before Takamatsu, Tanaka and Mokaya slipped off the back.

Ekarare, just 12th in the final last year, drove on to drop Kamau and Margaret for the win in 8:55.06, the 4th-fastest time ever by a foreign runner at a Japanese high school.  Kamau was next in 8:58.35.  Just behind her the tiny Takamatsu, the younger sister of 2014 Youth Olympics 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Nike), kicked hard over the last lap to move up to 3rd in 8:58.86.  Her time landed her at all-time #4 among Japanese juniors and #3 among Japanese high schoolers, knocking her older sister out of the junior list and almost doing the same for the high school rankings.

Tanaka, 2nd in the 1500 m and the top Japanese finisher in the World U20 Championships 3000 m, was 4th in 9:01.40 just 0.26 off her PB.  5th-placer Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) and 7th-placer Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) ran the two fastest times ever by high school first years, 9:03.51 and 9:05.15, with the top 9 all breaking 9:10.  Combined with the historic depth in the girls' 800 m and 1500 m this year's High School Nationals it may have been the best year ever for girls' middle and long distance.

Following the 3000 m, the girls' 4x400 m relay brought the race of the day.  Led by twins Atsumi and Yumi Totani, the Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S. team was out front by a wide margin that only got bigger, winning by more than 5 seconds in 3:37.67.  The Keiai girls' time broke both the meet record and the high school national record of 3:37.86 set by another Keiai team in 2009, cementing the school's place in Japanese sprinting history.

Rakunan H.S., alma mater of Rio Olympian Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) almost did the same in the boys' 4x400 m.  Head-to-head with rivals Soyo H.S. throughout the race dead on pace to break the ancient 3:09.67 meet record set in 1998 and the 3:08.32 high school national record from 2003, it came down to Rakunan anchor Yoshinobu Imoto to open a gap on Soyo.  Imoto crossed the line in 3:08.57, erasing a meet record older than anyone on the team, but just missing the national record.  Soyo also broke the meet record 3:08.91, an amazing feat given how old the record was.  With four years to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics its effects are already clear.

69th National High School Track and Field Championships
Day Five Highlights
City Lights Stadium, Okayama, 8/2/16
click here for complete results

Girls' 3000 m Final
1. Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 8:55.06
2. Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 8:58.35
3. Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 8:58.86
4. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 9:01.40
5. Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) - 9:03.51
6. Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:04.84
7. Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:05.15
8. Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) - 9:05.64
9. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 9:07.35
10. Mikuni Yada (Luther Gakuin H.S.) - 9:12.40

Girls' 100 m Hurdles Final +1.5 m/s
1. Yumi Tanaka (Kansai Prep Daiichi H.S.) - 13.50
2. Hikari Tanaka (Kokusai Gakuin H.S.) - 13.64
3. Rui Fujiwara (Komatsu Shogyo H.S.) - 13.68

Boys' 110 m Hurdles Final +1.2 m/s
1. Takuma Kato (Shibata H.S.) - 13.98
2. Kizuki Katta (Kaisei H.S.) - 14.18
3. Kaito Yoshima (Otsuka H.S.) - 14.20

Boys' 3000 m Steeplechase Final
1. Joel Mwaura (Kurashiki H.S.) - 8:46.89
2. Takeshi Nishida (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 8:55.97
3. Takumi Yoshida (Rakunan H.S.) - 8:56.01
4. Yusuke Tanabe (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 9:04.87
5. Taiju Nishikata (Hamamatsu Shogyo H.S.) - 9:05.74

Girls' 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S. - 3:37.67 - HS NR
2. Shigakukan H.S. - 3:42.81
3. Soyo H.S. - 3:44.34

Boys' 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Rakunan H.S. - 3:08.57 - MR
2. Soyo H.S. - 3:08.91 (MR)
3. Ikuno H.S. - 3:10.79

Boys' Triple Jump Final
1. Tsukasa Mizutani (Obihiro Nogyo H.S.) - 15.60 m +0.3 m/s
2. Yuta Takenouchi (Kagoshima Minami H.S.) - 15.39 m -0.0 m/s
3. Shuma Nagatsuka (Hosei Prep Daini H.S.) - 15.02 m +0.3 m/s

Girls' Shot Put Final
1. Honoka Oyama (Himeji Shogyo H.S.) - 15.11 m
2. Nao Masuda (Shizuoka Municipal H.S.) - 13.41 m
3. Nana Hirosawa (Kansai Okura H.S.) - 13.22 m

Boys' Discus Throw Final
1. Sota Kikuchi (Hirosaki Jitsugyo H.S.) - 55.39 m
2. Ayumu Hirota (Himeji Shogyo H.S.) - 48.35 m
3. Kazuki Hirabayashi (Osaka Toin H.S.) - 47.34 m

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


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