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Five New Meet Records at 102nd Kanto Regionals


Rain and wind through most of the weekend meant conditions weren't great for the 102nd Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships at Kanagawa's Sagamihara Gion Stadium, but five athletes still managed to deliver new meet records, three in long distance events.

In Thursday's D1 women's pole vault, 1st-year Mitsuki Kobayashi (Nittai Univ.) had a solid debut with a meet record 4.06 m. Kobayashi was the only athlete to make it over 4.00 m, clearing it on her second attempt. She then passed on 4.05 m, the meet record set two years ago by Nittai's Jun Maekawa, to give 4.06 m a shot. Kobayashi cleared that on her second attempt too, walking away the new MR holder.

Also Thursday, 1st-year Sarah Wanjiru (Daito Bunka Univ.) won the D1 women's 10000 m by over 30 seconds, lapping everyone in the race except runner-up Risa Yamazaki (Nittai Univ.). In her debut at the distance Wanjiru ran 32:17.19, almost four seconds under the previous record of 32:20.76 set by Masami Ishizaka in 1990, 14 years before Wanjiru was born.

Wanjiru was back Sunday to win the D1 women's 5000 m, a rare double by a 1st-year athlete. Wanjiru was less than 5 seconds off the MR, winning in 15:48.03, but with 1st-year Haruka Ogawa (Rikkyo Univ.) 2nd in a PB 15:55.78 it was a closer race than the 10000 m. Mariya Noda (Daito Bunka Univ.) was 3rd in 16:06.41, making it a 1st-year sweep of the podium.

In Saturday's D2 men's long jump, 4th-year Hiroki Sakka (Surugadai Univ.) had two big wind-aided jumps on his first two attempts, going 7.77 m (+2.7) and 7.87 (+2.5). But it took until his last attempt for him to get over last year's 7.71 m MR with a legal wind, jumping 7.76 m (+1.2). That tied what D1 LJ winner Riku Shindome (3rd yr., Kokusai Budo Univ.) jumped for the win with a +3.3 m/s wind assist on his fourth attempt.

In Sunday's D1 men's half marathon, yet another 1st-year, Brian Kipyegon (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), took 4 seconds off the year-old MR with a win in 1:02:16. On a 1.58 km lap course Kipyegon ran down the lead group in the D2 men's race, which started 6 minutes earlier, then pulled away to enter the stadium alone for the half lap to the finish. When he crossed the line nobody were there to stop him, so Kipyegon kept going full speed for another lap of the track, gesturing to officials in confusion about where the finish line was. Even so, he finished his extra 400 m just ahead of 7th, 8th and 9th placers Ren Yamaguchi (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.), Kazuki Ishii (4th yr., Juntendo Univ.) and Taichi Murakami (4th yr., Toyo Univ.), and only stopped when he noticed that they did.

Members of Komazawa University's 2023 Hakone Ekiden winning team took the top two spots in the D2 men's half marathon, 4th-year Yuto Akahoshi putting his experience at March's NYC Half Marathon to use for the win in 1:03:24 and 2nd-year Takuma Yamakawa 2nd in 1:03:27 after a very slow 30:27 first 10 km before Kipyegon caught them.

The other meet record came in Sunday D2 men's 3000 mSC. After winning their heats Saturday, Aoyama Gakuin University teammates Hibiki Obara, a 4th-year, and Asahi Kuroda, a 2nd-year, went 1-2 in the final. Obara broke Masatoshi Kikuchi's 2006 MR by over 6 seconds with a new record of 8:36.09, with Kuroda PBing in 8:38.44 for 2nd, also under the old MR. Both times were far ahead of D1 men's 3000 mSC winner Atsushi Shobu (4th yr., Waseda Univ.) who ran 8:44.06 to claim his last Kanto Regionals title. The fastest man on the D2 final entry list, Kento Uchida (4th yr., Rikkyo Univ.) was a DNS after spraining his ankle after the last barrier in his qualifying heat.

In other highlights:
  • A +3.1 m/s wind meant fast times in the D1 men's 100 m final Friday, with 2nd-year duo Hiroki Yanagita (Toyo Univ.) and Naoki Inoue (Waseda Univ.) going 1-2 in 10.09 and 10.10. 4th-year Shota Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) was 3rd in 10.13. Nakamura and Yanagita also ran 3rd and 4th to help Toyo University win the D1 men's 4x100 m final Friday.
  • The D1 women's 100 m final also had strong tailwinds, the +3.3 m/s reading pushing winner Haruka Taji (4th yr., Chuo Univ.) well under the official MR in 11.41 and 2nd-placer Yuna Miura (4th yr., Tsukuba Univ.) equal to the record in 11.59. Taji was 2nd in Sunday's D1 women's 200 m final in 24.05 (+4.7), with 2nd-year Riko Yamakoshi (Waseda Univ.) winning in 23.81.
  • Likewise for the D1 women's 100 mH final Friday, where winner Rei Honda (4th yr., Juntendo Univ.) was under both the meet and collegiate records in 13.13 but had a +2.5 m/s tailwind.
  • 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (4th yr., Juntendo Univ.) outran a solid D1 men's 5000 m field including 5000 m H.S. NR holder Hiroto Yoshioka (1st yr., Juntendo Univ.) and 10000 m winner James Mutok (2nd yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) for the win Sunday in 13:45.52. Mutok had run 28:02.80 to win the D1 men's 10000 m on Thursday.
  • 3rd-year Kenji Madero (Josai Univ.) won the D2 men's 100 m/200 m/4x100 m triple, taking the 100 m in 10.17 (+4.0) and running 2nd on Josai's 4x100 m winning team on Friday, and the 200 m in 20.97 (+3.4) on Sunday. Josai University also took the D2 men's 4x400 m Sunday in 3:11.50.
  • Another Josai athlete, 2nd-year Victor Kimutai, took the D2 men's 5000 m/10000 m double. Kimutai won the 10000 m Thursday in a PB 28:24.57 by less than a second in a sprint finish against Nelson Mandela Mbithi (2nd yr., Obirin Univ.) and Leakey Kamina (3rd yr., Soka Univ.), then 14:06.19 for 4th in his 5000 m qualifying heat the next day. After a day off Saturday he was back for Sunday's 5000 m final, winning it too in 13:53.92 in another three-way sprint finish with a separation of less than a second over Steven Muchini (1st yr., Soka Univ.) and Masaya Tsurukawa (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.).

© 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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