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Ekarare and Tanaka the Stars of 70th National High School Track and Field Championships

The 70th edition of the Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships took place July 29 to Aug. 2 at Yamagata's ND Software Stadium. Consistently strong headwinds throughout the five days meant a shortage of quality times in the sprints, but in the middle and long distances the relatively cool temperatures meant a string of national and meet records.

The highlight of the championships was a pair of duels over 1500 m and 3000 m between Japan-based Kenyan Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) and #1-ranked Japanese-born high schooler Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.), daughter of sub-2:30 amateur marathoner Chihiro Tanaka. In the 1500 m Tanaka was the only Japanese girl to go with the Kenyan trio of Ekarare, Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) and Tabitha Kamau (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) in the early going. Ekarare pulled away after 1000 m to win in a high school national record and meet record 4:07.06, ranking her 4th in the world among juniors this year. Tanaka couldn't follow but dropped Mokaya and Kamau over the last lap for 2nd just off her PB in 4:15.90

Back again in the 3000 m, the same lead quartet went out early on 9:00-flat pace with early company from others including the talented Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.). Ekarare and Tanaka were again at the front, and again Ekarare pulled away two-thirds of the way through the race to win in 8:54.36, #3 in the world this year for juniors. Again Tanaka dropped Mokaya and Kamau on the last lap, digging deep in the home straight and leaning across the line to break 9 minutes for the first time with a PB 8:59.83 and becoming just the fifth Japanese-born high schooler ever under 9:00. The top nine all broke 9:10, an exceptionally high level race even by Japanese high school standards.

The national high school record and meet record also fell in the girls' 800 m, with top two Ayano Shiomi (Kyoto Bunkyo Gakuen H.S.) and Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) dueling to the line and both clearing the old record by nearly two seconds, Shiomi writing her name in the record books in 2:02.57. Another meet record went down in the girls' 5000 m race walk, where the top three cleared the old record led by winner  Nanako Fujii (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) in 22:18.34. In something of a fluke, the U18 record in the girls' 4x100 m relay fell to 3rd-placer Eniwa Kita H.S. in 45.94, Eniwa having just the right combination of younger athletes to make it happen.

On the boys' side, the only record to fall was in the 3000 m steeplechase, where first-year Philemon Lagat (Kurashiki H.S.) took 20 seconds off future marathon great Daniel Njenga's 1993 meet record to win in 8:21.30. 2nd-placer Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) was also five seconds under Njenga's record but was a distant afterthought to the brilliant Lagat.

In the boys' 1500 m, Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) got the win over Japan-based Kenyan Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.), barely, with a last-minute surge on the inside to clip Mogeni by 0.01. Hanzawa's time of 3:44.57 was the second-fastest ever by a Japanese-born high schooler, and 3rd and 4th-placers Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) and Aoi Kuno (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) also got into the all-time high school top ten with times of 3:45.10 and 3:45.69.

Mogeni returned in the 5000 m to follow Hanzawa's tactics, waiting until the home straight to take the lead for the first time and winning just off the meet record in 13:36.38 over Charles Nijioka (Kurashiki H.S.) who clocked 13:36.73. The top five all cleared 14 minutes, Yuhi Nakaya (Saku Chosei H.S.) taking top Japanese honors in 13:55.50.

70th National High School Track and Field Championships

ND Software Stadium, Yamagata, July 29~Aug. 2, 2017
click here for complete results

Girls' 100 m Final (-3.0 m/s)
1. Mei Kodama (Oita Oginodai H.S.) - 12.02
2. Ayane Usui (Ritsumeikan Keisho H.S.) - 12.06
3. Shuri Aono (Yamagata Chuo H.S.) - 12.15

Boys' 100 m Final (-2.0 m/s)
1. Daisuke Miyamoto (Rakunan H.S.) - 10.51
2. Justin Junpei Tsukamoto (Josai Prep H.S.) - 10.58
3. Satoru Fukushima (Toyama Shogyo H.S.) - 10.64

Girls' 200 m Final (-0.2 m/s)
1. Shuri Aono (Yamagata Chuo H.S.) - 23.98
2. Yuri Okumura (Kyoai H.S.) - 24.34
3. Miku Yamada (Morioka Seio H.S.) - 24.43

Boys'  200 m Final (+0.5 m/s)
1. Satoru Fukushima (Toyama Shogyo H.S.) - 21.04
2. Yuki Takagi (Tokai Prep Shoyo H.S.) - 21.06
3. Ryohei Saito (Kunori Gakuen H.S.) - 21.15

Girls' 400 m Final
1. Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 53.92
2. Yuri Okumura (Kyoai H.S.) - 54.75
3. Ayako Kuwahara (Osaka H.S.) - 55.25

Boys'  400 m Final
1. Shuji Mori (Hokkaido Sakae H.S.) - 47.50
2. Aran Merudoramu (Soyo H.S.) - 47.86
3. Shuhei Matsuo (Nagasaki Nanzan H.S.) - 47.87

Girls' 800 m Final
1. Ayano Shiomi (Kyoto Bunkyo Gakuen H.S.) - 2:02.57 - HS NR, MR
2. Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 2:02.74 (HS NR, MR)
3. Ayaka Miyade (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 2:06.97

Boys'  800 m Final
1. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) - 1:50.32
2. Tatsunami Kureiaron (Soyo H.S.) - 1:50.67
3. Takuro Ichinomiya (Matsuyama Kita H.S.) - 1:50.77

Girls' 1500 m Final
1. Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 4:07.06 - HS NR, MR, PB
2. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:15.90
3. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 4:17.61
4. Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) - 4:17.82
5. Tabitha Kamau (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 4:17.86

Boys' 1500 m Final
1. Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:44.57
2. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 3:44.58
3. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) - 3:45.10
4. Aoi Kuno (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:45.69
5. Hiroto Hayashida (Keiho H.S.) - 3:46.17

Girls' 3000 m Final
1. Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 8:54.36
2. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 8:59.83 - PB
3. Tabitha Kamau (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:01.73
4. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 9:03.67
5. Yuna Wada (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 9:04.25
6. Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 9:05.26
7. Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) - 9:05.66
8. Mikuni Wada (Luther Gakuin H.S.) - 9:06.52
9. Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:07.17
10. Mary Shipuko (Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - 9:11.50

Boys' 5000 m Final
1. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 13:36.38
2. Charles Nijioka (Kurashiki H.S.) - 13:36.73
3. David Gure (Sera H.S.) - 13:52.10
4. Yuhi Nakaya (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 13:55.50
5. Peter Mwangi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 13:57.32

Girls' 100 m Hurdles Final (-2.9 m/s)
1. Yuiri Yoshida (Komatsu Shogyo H.S.) - 13.68
2. Nodoka Sato (Yonezawa Kojokan H.S.) - 14.01
3. Rin Ibaraki (Kunori H.S.) - 14.03

Boys' 110 m Hurdles Final (-0.7 m/s)
1. Kizuki Katta (Kaisei H.S.) - 14.19
2. Nobuaki Morito (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 14.30
3. Rikuto Higuchi (Nara Ikuei H.S.) - 14.34

Girls' 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Rina Takagi (Kurashiki Minami H.S.) - 59.20
2. Neneka Nishimura (Saikyo H.S.) - 59.33
3. Funa Oki (Yamagata Kita H.S.) - 59.63

Boys' 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Yusuke Shirao (Tokyo Nogyo Prep Daini H.S.) - 51.44
2. Hiromu Yamauchi (Kaizu H.S.) - 51.97
3. Jo Tanabe (Ritsumeikan Keisho H.S.) - 52.41

Boys' 3000 m Steeplechase Final
1. Philemon Lagat (Kurashiki H.S.) - 8:21.30 - MR
2. Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 8:36.49 (MR)
3. Arashi Yamamoto (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 8:51.11
4. Taiju Nishikata (Hamamatsu Shogyo H.S.) - 8:58.20
5. Kotaro Haga (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 8:58.22

Girls' 5000 m Race Walk Final
1. Nanako Fujii (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) - 22:18.34 - MR
2. Narumi Asano (Yamada H.S.) - 22:28.35 (MR)
3. Marina Abe (Niijima Gakuen H.S.) - 22:44.85 (MR)

Boys' 5000 m Race Walk Final
1. Kota Koga (Omuta H.S.) - 20:27.05
2. Tomohiro Suzuki (Meiwa H.S.) - 20:29.93
3. Kazuhiro Tateiwa (Omuta H.S.) - 20:32.98

Girls' 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Chukyo Prep H.S. - 45.48
2. Kyoto Tachibana H.S. - 45.70
3. Eniwa Kita H.S. - 45.94 - U18 NR

Boys' 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Gifu Shotoku H.S. - 40.29
2. Rakunan H.S. - 40.32
3. Hosei Ni H.S. - 40.40

Girls' 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S. - 3:39.82
2. Soyo H.S. - 3:43.30
3. Tokyo H.S. - 3:45.87

Boys' 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Rakunan H.S. - 3:09.52
2. Narita H.S. - 3:11.12
3. Josei Prep H.S. - 3:11.16

Girls' High Jump Final
1. Nagisa Takahashi (Tokyo H.S.) - 1.77 m

Boys' High Jump Final
1. Ryuta Bando (Takamatsu Kogei H.S.) - 2.09 m

Girls' Pole Vault Final
1. Rina Yamagi (Kanonji Daiichi H.S.) - 3.90 m

Boys' Pole Vault Final
1. Yusuke Ishikawa (Kanonji Daiichi H.S.) - 5.00 m

Girls' Long Jump Final
1. Ayaka Kora (Sonoda H.S.) - 6.17 m (+2.8 m/s)

Boys' Long Jump Final
1. Yugo Sakai (Minami Tama H.S.) - 7.68 m (+1.8 m/s)

Girls' Triple Jump Final
1. Risa Hashimoto (Makuhari Sogo H.S.) - 12.73 m (+2.1 m/s)

Boys' Triple Jump Final
1. Koki Kawanishi (Osaka Toin H.S.) - 15.40 m (+1.6 m/s)

Girls' Shot Put Final
1. Fumika Ono (Seibudai H.S.) - 14.83 m

Boys' Shot Put Final
1. Toshiaki Abe (Nagaoka Shogyo H.S.) - 17.05 m

Girls' Discus Throw Final
1. Maki Saito (Tsuruoka Kogyo H.S.) - 48.76 m

Boys' Discus Throw Final
1. Yoshifumi Nakamura (Amagasaki Municipal H.S.) - 49.64 m

Girls' Hammer Throw Final
1. Mio Kikuchi (Furukawa Reimei H.S.) - 52.89 m

Boys' Hammer Throw Final
1. Yoshifumi Nakamura (Amagasaki Municipal H.S.) - 63.93 m

Girls' Javelin Throw Final
1. Sae Takemoto (Amagasaki Municipal H.S.) - 56.44 m

Boys' Javelin Throw Final
1. Masafumi Azechi (Tokatsu H.S.) - 68.73 m

Girls' Heptathlon Overall
1. Yui Ono (Shiraume Gakuen H.S.) - 5337

Boys' Octathlon Overall
1. Shunsuke Izumiya (Buso H.S.) - 5916

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved


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