Records fall at Kanto cross country finals
Stars and Stripes October 13, 2012
TAMA HILLS RECREATION CENTER, Japan – For the first time in league history, a Yokota runner captured the girls title in Saturday’s Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools cross-country finals.
Samantha Arnold, a freshman, ran the 2.1-mile girls course in 13 minutes, 14.1 seconds, bettering her own school record by eight seconds. She was well ahead of second-place Tanya Riordan of American School In Japan, who clocked 13:32, and pre-race favorite Carydaliz Fontanez of Nile C. Kinnick (13:36.8).
But Arnold was far from satisfied with her time. Asked how low she can go, she replied: “Not low enough (to match) that seventh grader.”
She was referring to Brittani Shappell, a middle-school student at Tokyo’s Seisen International School, who shattered the five-year-old course record of 12:58.6 set by senior Anna Novick of St. Maur International in 2007.
Shappell, who also holds the Pacific record in track and field’s 3,000-meter run, was timed in 12:50.6.
“I thought I was only going to get 13:10,” Shappell said after the meet. Asked how well she thinks she can do, she said: “30 more seconds, maybe.”
Saturday’s varsity race was the first time in recent memory that two DODDS runners captured first place, in an event that’s usually the province of international-school runners and teams.
Robert Beard of Kinnick, seventh last year, won the boys 2.9-mile race in 15:17, breaking the school record by three seconds, according to coach Rich Ringling, who coached Novick at St. Maur before joining DODDS three years ago.
Whether Arnold stands a good chance at next month’s Far East meet based on Saturday’s results is “hard to tell,” Yokota coach Dan Galvin said.
“She has a shot,” Galvin said. “I like her chances, but don’t count out Cary. Week to week, it’s a different race.”
Ringling feels that Beard will get competition from four or five other boys from around the region. “It’s open ended,” he said, citing defending boys Far East champion Erik Armes of Kubasaki among others. Beard “has put in the training he’s needed to do to reach his goals,” Ringling said.
Most Kanto international schools now head to Guam for next weekend’s Asia-Pacific Invitational, then the Far East meet at Camp Fuji and Naval Air Facility Atsugi on Nov. 5-6.