Cain Crushes National Record
Mary Cain — the rising junior at Bronxville High in suburban New York — took sixth at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, shattering Jordan Hasay's national high school record in the 1,500-meter run with a stunning time of 4:11.01.
Cain had twice gotten close to Hasay's 4:14.50 in the last month, but put it away at Olympic Stadium, following champion Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Kenya, who broke the championship record in 4:04.96. Cain came within two seconds of the American Junior Record of Suzy Favor (4:09.10), set in 1987. Only Favor and Jan Merrill (4:10.6 in 1976) ran faster as Juniors. It is worth the reminder than Cain is just 16 years old.
“Oh, wow, new high school record by three seconds, whooo!” Cain told Tom Lewis of the U.S. Coaches Association. “Coming into the race, I knew the best Team USA had done was fourth, but those were at 4:19 and 4:13. A sixth-place finish and scoring a couple of points for the team is great thing. And, this is the fastest an American has ever run here, so I’ll go with that. Pretty early on, I had an aggressive start, and was actually spiked in the leg. That last 600 meters, I was like (dang) – these girls are fast. This has been a great experience (in racing) – I’ve never had the chance to actually chase people.”
“When I was on the line, all I was thinking was that in five minutes, you’ll be done, and in five minutes, hopefully you’ll have a national record if you run well. I think it was the least nervous I have ever been going into a race because I knew they would pull me to a fast time. I went in and fought for it.”
Two other Armory locals competed on the final day at the World Juniors. Jamaican Sandrae Farquharson, who was a 2011 Armory All-Star at Medgar Evers, ran on the silver-medal Green & Gold 4x400m relay, which was second to the Americans, 3:30.01 to 3:32.97. Eddie Owens of Brooklyn and Princeton University finished 11th in the steeplechase, running a personal-best 8:51.44, which was far behind Consesius Kipruto's championship record time of 8:06.10. It was the 13th straight time a Kenyan had won the steeple at the World Juniors.
American Morgan Snow — who has completed her freshman year at the University of Texas — was the winner of the women's 100-meter hurdles in 13.38. She'd actually run 13.04 at the NCAA West Regionals, but the time was inconsequential as she claimed individual gold.
"It is a great start of my international career," said Snow. "This gold medal for my country. I was focused to winning. The race was all about the speed and I have known that I have speed."
Another young U.S. star — Shelby Vaughan of Mansfield, Texas — looked like she was in position to claim gold in the discus throw, but two competitors passed her in the sixth and final round, leaving her with a bronze medal instead.
"I am very excited although I wish that I could have placed higher," said Vaughan. "I did not reach my personal best today which was my goal. However, I can be very happy because I am still the youngest of the girls on the podium. I hope I can get better and progress in the future. The trip to Barcelona was crazy, I loved it."
The U.S. men closed the 2012 Juniors with an impressive win in the 4x400-meter relay as Quincy Downing, Aldrich Bailey, Chidi Okezie and Arman Hall were timed in 3:03.99. The Polish team was second in 3:05.05, a national junior record.
As the Championships conclude, a look back is important. Four young women who had been showcasing their talents all winter long at The Armory showed their magnificence at the World Juniors. Cain and North Shore's Brianna Nerud broke national high school records (in fact, Nerud broke one twice). Meanwhile New Jersey's Ajee Wilson and Medgar Evers' Kadecia Baird ran not just all-time top five times in their events, but the best marks by a U.S. high schooler in more than a decade.