This article has been corrected.
TOKYO – What began as speed work during early morning and afternoon basketball practice over the winter reaped major benefits Saturday on the track for Daniel Galvin.
The Yokota sophomore distance specialist broke the Pacific record in the 800, clocking 1 minute, 56.89 seconds, beating the six-year-old record by .41 seconds on a windy but sunny day at Tokyo’s Oi Pier Ground Stadium.
The work that he did during basketball practices “really helped me with my 800 and 400 times,” Galvin said. He played junior varsity basketball for the Panthers after running cross country and winning the DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain titles last fall.
Both Galvin and his coach, former Hong Kong Olympian Maggie Chan-Roper, feel that he can drop as many as two seconds off his time.
"He’s very coachable and willing to work hard,” said Chan-Roper, adding that Galvin worked hard over the just completed spring break.
Galvin opened the season March 15 at Yokota by becoming the fourth Pacific high school runner to break two minutes, 1:59.22.
On Saturday, he topped the old mark of 1:57.3 set in 2008 by Blake Bannister of Christian Academy Japan. Others who have gone under two minutes are CAJ's Marshall Merriam and Kyle Carrick, Tomas Sanchez of Kadena - now running for the Merchant Marine Academy - and Kubasaki’s Ryan Bugler.
Galvin ran against the clock the first three meets of the season, but now that American School In Japan and its strong distance cadre has begun competing, Galvin said he feels he can be sufficiently pushed to run faster.
Okinawa, meanwhile, held its first meet off base on Saturday, at Chatan Stadium near American Village in Mihama, and the first to feature automated timing this season.
Kubasaki’s Rahman Farnell clocked 10.99 in the 100, and the Dragons boys – who broke the Pacific 400 relay mark last month – ran it in 44.22, well short of the record 42.9.
Perhaps inspired by former Kadena high jumper Lotty Smith, the only Pacific athlete in history to top two meters, current Panther senior Preston Harris says he’s reaching for high heights, and though he might not match Smith, he says he’d like to jump his height, 6-foot-5.
“My boy Lotty. Only 5-9,” Harris said after clearing 6-2 on Saturday. While he says he has the jump and arch portion down, he still needs work on his form to prevent his backside from striking the bar.
“If I get my form right, 6-5 will be a wrap and I’ll go from there,” Harris said. “I’m getting it down slowly. By Far East, it’ll be there.”
Among multiple winners were Kadena distance specialists Hunter Ficenec and Ana Hernandez, the latter the two-time reigning Far East cross-country champion. Teammate Jazmin Sharper swept the throwing events.
Farnell swept the 100 and 200 and helped Kubasaki to two relay wins, and Farnell’s teammate Kaelyn Francis won the girls 100 and 200. Zion Christian Academy International’s Amora Wood swept the hurdles and won the long jump.
Camp Humphreys welcomed international schools for the first time. Seoul Foreign and Gyeonggi Suwon International joined the DODDS Korea schools and a large middle school contingent as well.
“It was a long day,” said organizer Mitch Moellendick of a meet that welcomed some 170 athletes.
Grace Charnesky christened the Crusaders’ debut by sweeping the three distance events. Humphreys’ Timi Ward handled the hurdles again, as did Seoul American’s Dale Bush. Seoul American’s Shawn Horne and Tiesha Jones each won the 100 and 200. Some 24 athletes posted qualifying times and distances, Moellendick said.
Marshall Merriam and Kyle Carrick were omitted from a list of runners who have broken the 2-minute barrier for the 800 in an earlier version of this article.