Mary Cain Wins Her First US Indoor Title At 2013 US Indoor Track & Field Championships

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16-Year-Old High School Phenom Displays Tactical Savvy And World Class Closing Speed To Win Her First Title In The Senior Ranks

By LetsRun.com
March 3, 2013

In an incredibly tactical mile, 16-year-old high school phenom Mary Cain blew away the field over the final 200 to win her first US senior championship in 5:05.68 – nearly a full second better than multi-time US champ Treniere Moser, who ran 5:06.55 for second.  2007 NCAA 1,500 champ Brie Felnagle was third in 5:06.90.

Cain’s final 400 was a world class 58.61 (29.27, 29.34).

Cain ran the mile at the US championships at altitude in Albuquerque looking to gain some practice in tactical races. The mission was accomplished. When this race was over, it didn’t look like she needed any practice at all, as she ran a very smart tactical race in an incredibly slow race.

The race went out in 85.26 for 409 meters – yes, that would be 83 seconds for 400 – and 2:56.54 for (809) as no one wanted to lead. Cain was up front in the lead, but she clearly didn’t want it. Showing a racing savvy far more advanced than her years, she smartly ran in lane two so that anyone who wanted the lead could have it by coming up on the inside but so she wouldn’t get boxed in by people coming up from the outside.

Mary Cain Wins Her First USATF Senior Title (Photo Gallery Here)

The race finally got going on the sixth lap as Sara Vaughn pushed the pace down to the 32-mid range (32.54 for Cain). It really accelerated with 400 to go as Cain started her push for home. On the backstretch, she took the lead back from Vaughn and when Cain cut in from the outside with about 350 meters to go, there was contact as Cain didn’t have quite enough space (technically under USATF rules, you are supposed to have a full stride). Nothing malicious – just hard racing – but Cain wasn’t afraid to throw an elbow to send a signal to Vaughn that the lead now belonged to Cain and nobody would be retaking it on the inside.

In the end, the contact proved to be unnecessary as Cain was dominant over the final lap. Eventual sixth placer Dana Mecke came up alongside Cain right before the bell but Cain destroyed everyone over the final lap as Mecke faded (we’re not convinced Mecke didn’t miscount the laps as she only managed a 33.64 last lap). Often in crazily slow races, the finishes are amazingly tight but not here as Cain won by .87 and that included her letting up at the end.

“She’s thrashed them. That’s what you call a real bad beating,” said Brit Tim Hutchings, who was fourth in the 1984 Olympic 5,000, on the telecast of the meet on NBC Sports Network. “So she’s run like 58 – something like that for her last 400 meters – that is world class closing speed.”

“I know the time was really slow but going into it, I was like ‘Hey I’m a kicker. I can control the race, keep it slow and then kick it out,'” said Cain to Ato Boldon after the race on the NBC Sports broadcast.

LetsRun.com’s Quick Take: So many positives to take home from this one in our minds with the win being the least important in the long term. Two other things we think are more important:

1) Hutchings is right, Cain displayed world class closing speed. 58.61 for the lat 400 and 1:31.15 for the last 600. We knew she was an aerobic machine but it’s hard to coach speed and Cain has it.

2) Cain displayed great racing tactics. Her move to the front almost certainly didn’t make Vaughn happy but the pro circuit in Europe isn’t a place where the meek survive.

Results and race video appear below.

More: Message Board Discussion: CAIN 5:05.68 FTW!!!!
*Official 2013 USA Indoor Day 2 Discussion Thread – Watching on TV ? Give us your thoughts here
*
For a recap of all of the day 2 mid-d and distance events, please see this: 2013 USA Indoor Track And Field Meet – Day 2 Mid-D And Distance Recap – Teen Phenoms Mary Cain & Ajee Wilson Win As Does Erik Sowinski And Will Leer
*Full Results Here

Video of Race via USATF/Runnerspace

Women’s 1 Mile Run (Final)Heat 1 Splits

 

 PlaceAthlete Name209m409m609m809m1009m1209m1409mMile
 1Mary Cain
Unattached
40.73
(1) 40.73
1:25.26
(1) 44.54
2:11.57
(1) 46.32
2:56.74
(3) 45.17
3:34.57
(2) 37.83
4:07.09
(2) 32.53
4:36.35
(1) 29.27
5:05.68
(1) 29.34
 2Treniere Moser
Nike
40.84
(2) 40.84
1:25.33
(2) 44.49
2:11.61
(2) 46.29
2:56.70
(2) 45.09
3:34.71
(3) 38.02
4:07.27
(3) 32.57
4:36.80
(3) 29.53
5:06.55
(2) 29.75
 3Brie Felnagle
adidas
41.23
(5) 41.23
1:25.65
(5) 44.42
2:11.88
(5) 46.24
2:57.02
(5) 45.14
3:35.03
(6) 38.02
4:07.59
(6) 32.56
4:37.49
(6) 29.91
5:06.90
(3) 29.41
 4Sara Vaughn
Nike/Bowerman AC
41.30
(6) 41.30
1:25.88
(6) 44.59
2:12.04
(6) 46.17
2:56.54
(1) 44.51
3:34.51
(1) 37.97
4:07.05
(1) 32.55
4:36.98
(4) 29.93
5:08.47
(4) 31.49
 5Sarah Brown
New Balance
41.03
(4) 41.03
1:25.62
(4) 44.59
2:11.87
(4) 46.26
2:57.09
(6) 45.22
3:34.83
(4) 37.75
4:07.37
(4) 32.54
4:37.38
(5) 30.01
5:08.70
(5) 31.33
 6Dana Mecke
Unattached
40.98
(3) 40.98
1:25.46
(3) 44.49
2:11.76
(3) 46.31
2:56.89
(4) 45.14
3:34.88
(5) 37.99
4:07.49
(5) 32.61
4:36.36
(2) 28.87
5:09.97
(6) 33.62
 7Erin Koch
Unattached
41.50
(7) 41.50
1:26.12
(7) 44.63
2:12.22
(7) 46.10
2:57.21
(7) 45.00
3:35.18
(7) 37.98
4:07.76
(7) 32.58
4:38.20
(7) 30.44
5:10.65
(7) 32.46

Editor’s Note: Employee 1.1’s car broke down and he missed the meet. We apologize for not having on-site coverage but really feel bad for 1.1. He missed a world record on Saturday and Mary Cain on Sunday.