DODEA-Japan meeting will serve as focus for Virtual Far East

Nile C. Kinnick junior sprinter Jeremiah Hines leads the DODEA-Pacific runners in the 100 meters with a season-best 11.23 seconds. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — He doesn’t say much at school or off the track. But when Jeremiah Hines has come off the blocks this track and field season, his time has spoken volumes.

Junior Nile C. Kinnick enters the DODEA-Japan district final on Saturday as the leader among DODEA-Pacific sprinters, after clocking 11.23 seconds in the 100 meters and 23.37 in the 200.

We may never know by talking to him off the track, explains his trainer, Luke Voth.

“Tranquil and as humble as a church mouse,” Voth said. “Pound for pound one of the strongest people in our base, weight room obsessed and getting faster and faster. He’s coachable and has a team first mentality. He eats every workout. training that we give him and want more.

Hines leads the second-fastest DODEA-Japan sprinter, Isaiah Nelson of Yokota, by nearly a full second in the 100m (12.12) and more than a full second in the 200m (24.97).

Zama sophomore Lilianna Fennessey and Robert D. Edgren senior Morgan Erler go for the distance titles in Saturday's DODEA-Japan District Finals.

Zama sophomore Lilianna Fennessey and Robert D. Edgren senior Morgan Erler go for the distance titles in Saturday’s DODEA-Japan District Finals. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Hines’ closest Pacific-wide competition won’t be at Yokota’s Bonk Field on Saturday; Kubasaki’s Godfrey Wray and Gavin McKnight trail Hines by 0.01 seconds in the 100, but the closest to meeting Hines will be the virtual Far East meet in two weeks.

For now, Hines will face the best of international schools DODEA-Japan and Kanto Plain starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The weather forecast calls for cloudy skies on Saturday morning, turning sunny in the afternoon with a forecast high of 61. A tailwind of 5 meters per second, two above the legal limit of 3 mps, is forecast for the afternoon.

That 11:23 a.m. that Hines ran was during last Saturday’s Kinnick-Matthew C. Perry-EJ King triple-meeting at Marine Corps Air Force Base Iwakuni, “after a 14-hour bus ride and a half, skipping meals and sleeping on the floor of a classroom,” Voth recalled.

A much shorter bus ride from Yokosuka Naval Base to Yokota could mean a time “maybe closer to 11.1 or 11.0,” Voth said.

Hines’ stated goals are to break the school records set in 2016 by Jabari Johnson of 10.78 and 21.23, possibly chasing the Pacific record of 10.77 set in 2019 by Humphreys’ Tevijon Williams.

“With his work ethic and natural ability, he’ll have the best shot any Kinnick kid has had” at those marks, Voth said.

Hines won’t be the only one with speed to burn in Yokota on Saturday.

Nile C. Kinnick senior and defending Far East Cross Country Champion Austin Shinzato is the headliner for the Red Devils' distance corps ahead of the DODEA-Japan District Final on Saturday.

Nile C. Kinnick senior and defending Far East Cross Country Champion Austin Shinzato is the headliner for the Red Devils’ distance corps ahead of the DODEA-Japan District Final on Saturday. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Zama’s “Fantastic Four,” sprinters Theori Lindsey, Tianna King, Naviah Blizzard and defending Far East sprint champion Madison Anderson lead the Pacific in the 400-meter relay.

They have the Trojans coaching staff comparing this group to the one that set a Pacific mark of 48.54 in 2017.

“This group is younger,” Trojans coach Veronica Jones said, but they could be just as good; Blizzard, Anderson, and King are each in their second year. “DODEA has some awesome kids,” she said.

Trojans sophomore Lilianna Fennessey and defending Robert D. Edgren’s Far East cross-country champion Morgan Erler are ready to chase distance medals, as are the defending boys’ cross-country East and Kinnick’s 2021 Far East 800, 1600 and 3200 Champions Austin Shinzato.

“Morgan might not peak until the Far East,” Eagles coach Tim Schwehr said. “We really pushed some tough workouts. I think she prefers 1600 at this point. Trying to break 5:20 is his goal. Erler holds the Pacific best time of 5:33.69.

Competitors in Japan will get another shot at their events at a regular season meet next Saturday at Matthew C. Perry ahead of the virtual Far East event the following week.

Zama's Naviah Blizzard is part of the Trojans' 400-meter relay group that includes three sophomores, who could challenge for the long jump, hurdles, sprint and relay titles at the DODEA district finals- Saturday Japan.

Zama’s Naviah Blizzard is part of the Trojans’ 400-meter relay group that includes three sophomores, who could challenge for the long jump, hurdles, sprint and relay titles at the DODEA district finals- Saturday Japan. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

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