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It’s often said in track and field meets featuring preliminaries that runners only do well enough in heats to qualify for the finals. But if they were coasting in Monday’s Far East preliminaries, it would be easier to start a new record book.

Eight meet records tumbled, six of them in qualifying races, and one was tied as the Pacific’s finest runners, jumpers and throwers picked up where they left off a year ago, when 18 meet records were set. And athletes promised more fireworks to come in Tuesday’s finals.

“We’re going to beat it again,” said Shawn Monroe of Okinawa Christian International, which shattered the 1,600-meter relay record in a time 3 minutes, 29.36 seconds.

Senior Val James of Nile C. Kinnick led the record barrage, posting a 12.41 in the 100 prelims and her third sub-1-minute run of the season in the 400, clocking 58.62.

“I’m trying to beat the Pacific record,” James said of the 57.20 clocking that’s stood for 12 years. Asked if she ran her hardest during qualifying, she said: “Nope.”

She said the same of her 100. “That wasn’t even my hardest,” James said, adding that she enjoyed the “way better” competition than she got during the regular season. “I can’t wait for finals. That will be a really good race.”

Also chasing Pacific record territory was Kubasaki 800 specialist Ryan Bugler, who beat the meet record with a 1:59.12 in a sprint to the tape with Yokota freshman Daniel Galvin (1:59.22). Bugler came up short of the Pacific mark by less than two seconds.

“I ran a poor race. It was just nerves,” said Bugler, adding that he’d not run since last Monday.

It’s the first time two runners came in under 2 minutes in the event since the 2010 Kanto Plain finals. “We’ve been lucky to get two or three people under 2:05,” said meet timer Bruce Carrick, for 17 years a Pacific track and field observer.

Kubasaki also snapped the girls 3,200 relay mark by almost 15 seconds. “Nice. I’m glad that’s over,” said senior Allie Reichenberg.

Dragons junior sprinter Rahman Farnell matched the 200 boys mark set last year by Yokota’s Preston Brooks, at 22.41. “I’ll get 21 tomorrow,” he said.

Okinawa Christian’s Keishi Nambara, the anchor on the 1,600 relay team, also beat the 400 meet record – and he, too, said he’d not run his hardest. “Coach (Glen Morris) told me to slow down, so I didn’t take off,” Nambara said. “I’ll just kill it tomorrow” in the finals.

Guam High got into the record-breaking act, shaving .23 seconds off the 400 relay mark. “I was pretty surprised,” junior Jawan Jacobs said. “We’ve been training for it all year.”

“I knew our team would do pretty good,” coach Joe Taitano said.

Some folks topped their own bests, including American School In Japan junior Liz Thornton, who ran 25.81 in the 200 to beat her 26.44 of last year. She’d posted sub-26s during the season which were wind aided. “Now that I’ve done it without the wind, I feel a lot better. I proved I could do it,” she said.

Pacific track records date back for decades, but the Far East meet has been held for the last five.

Softball pool-play games get washed out Heavy rain Monday morning at Naval Air Facility Atsugi forced the cancellation of 10 of 12 pool-play games in the Far East Divisions I and II softball tournaments. Organizers then held a coaches meeting, at which they agreed on seeding for the double-elimination playoffs that begin Tuesday.

“It worked out smoothly,” tournament director Ed Fogell said. “Everyone was professional about it. It was awesome.”

The playoffs are scheduled to end with the championship games at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Forecasts call for good weather Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tight battles mark first day of soccer pool play Several coaches called the battle for top seeding in the playoff rounds of the Far East soccer tournaments “wide open” after the first day of pool play.

Nile C. Kinnick and Kadena shared the early lead in the Boys Division I Tournament, while American School In Japan and Kadena shared the lead in one pool and Yokota topped the other in Girls Division I.

Reigning Boys Division II champion Matthew C. Perry and four-time champion Yongsan International-Seoul took the early lead in their respective pools, while last year’s top two in the Girls Division II, Perry and Osan American, shared the top spot in the early going.

Kubasaki finally captures Okinawa baseball district title Ten days after Game 1, the weather held off long enough for Kubasaki and Kadena to finally take the field and finish off the Okinawa best-of-three baseball finals.

And the Dragons wasted little time making it eight straight titles, scoring 13 third-inning runs to pound the Panthers 17-2 in three innings, in a game shortened by the mercy rule. Kadena hasn’t won the title since 2005.

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