Unusually cool weather throughout the weekend worked to the advantage of the athletes in distance events at Kanagawa's National University Individual Track and Field Championships, where the meet records fell in both the men's and women's 5000 m. The poorer cousin of September's National University Track and Field Championships, the individual meet features a reduced program, no team scoring, and some competition from Taiwan. Coming just a week before the National Track and Field Championships many of Japan's best collegians tend to give it a miss, but the level of competition is often high all the same.
In the women's race first-year Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) surprised the field, breaking the meet record set six years ago by current top-level pro Rina Nabeshima by 6 seconds to win the B-heat in 15:46.84. Fourth-year Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) were both under Nabeshima's record in the A-heat in 15:49.37 and 15:52.82 but neither could better the unknown Suzuki's mark.
For men, due to the presence of the Hakone Ekiden within the Tokyo-area Kanto Region it's unusual to see a distance runner of even moderate ability at a school in any other region. Someone forgot to tell that to Kansai Region third-year Yuki Ishii (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.), who led the top eight under the meet record as he bettered it by 14 seconds to win in 13:45.65. The seven runners under the record behind him were all from schools that won a Big Three University Ekiden last season, two from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University, one from National University Ekiden winner Kanagawa University, and four from Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University. You have to go down to 18th place to find another runner from outside Kanto, highlighting Ishii's achievement all the more.
In the men's 100 m, London World Championships 4x100 m silver medalist Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) won his opening-round heat in 10.32 (+1.6 m/s) but sat the semi-finals out. In his absence, 2017 World University Games gold medalist Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan Univ. of P.E. and Sport) took the spot, impressively shaving 0.09 off his own Taiwanese national record to win in 10.11 (+0.2 m/s).
Yang's teammate Chun-Hsien Hsiang (Taiwan Univ. of P.E. and Sport) went 1 cm over last year's meet record in the men's high jump, clearing 2.22 m for the win. The meet record also went in the men's 10000 m racewalk. Fourth-year Kazuki Takahashi (Waseda Univ.) took 4 seconds off the 2014 record to win in 40:27.90. 2nd-placer Ryutaro Yamamoto (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) also went under the old record in 40:30.12
Apart from Suzuki's mark in the 5000 m, the only other women's meet record of the weekend came in the pole vault. Second-year Misaki Morota (Chuo Univ.) cleared 4.02 m to notch the meet record up 1 cm. Complete results from the National University Individual Track and Field Championships are here.
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