Don't leave Mary Cain alone with your records. She is sure to shatter them.
Tonight at the Oxy High Performance meet in Los Angeles, the 17-year-old had her most stunning moment yet. And that is no easy task.
Running with a group of professionals, Cain went from seventh to third in the last 300 meters of the 1,500-meter run to finish in 4:04.62, which meets the A standard for inclusion in the IAAF World Championships in Moscow later this summer.
But first she will need a top-three finish at the USA National Championships in Des Moines next month (June 20-23).
Cain's performance took more than six seconds off her own national high school record of 4:10.77, which she set at the Drake Relays last month. It also crushed Suzy Hamilton's 26-year-old American Junior Record of 4:09.10, which she set as a University of Wisconsin freshman. (Here's the all-time updated top 10.)
Cain nearly scored the victory in the race, which featured a blanket finish. Katie Mackey of Brooks held off Nicole Sifuentes of Saucony by .001 of a second for the win in 4:04.60. Cain was less than a step behind. UPDATE: Results have been revised and Cain was second with Sifuentes in third (4:04.65).
The 4:04.62 would be the No. 2 time in college history… had she yet attend college. After the race, Oregon star Jordan Hasay tweeted, "That was 10 seconds faster than my high school PR, which also happened to be a high school record. WOW. Nice run Mary Cain!"
Afterward Cain spoke with Dixon Farmer on Flotrack and said that she doesn't focus on time or place. She just wants to stay with the leaders because "I know I have a kick to mess with."
She confirmed that her next race will be a 1,500-meter run at the Pre Classic, a Diamond League stop at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
She also left some frightening words for the competition. "I thought I could run this fast," she said in response to a question. "And maybe I can run faster…"
Cain's coach Alberto Salazar was surprised by the time. "Her races are way beyond her workouts," he told Flotrack. "But still, her workouts have improved from where they were in the winter. … So, just using that sort of extrapolation, I thought she could run 4:05. Still, she does workouts you wouldn’t think would produce a 4:05. They’re not quite that good yet. But for her, I know that they are."
Salazar was quick to point out that Cain had broken the national high school 1,500m record before they'd even met.
"She’s a very natural athlete. She ran 4:11 last year so she’s ran six seconds faster with me this year. That’s not a heck of a lot from a sophomore to a junior in high school; you should probably expect that much. She’s got a lot of talent, my job is to make sure that talent is fulfilled … I didn’t make Mary Cain; she was already made."