INDIANAPOLIS - Mary Cain (Bronxville, N.Y.) has been named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after setting American junior and high school records in the 800-meter race at the Nike Prefontaine Classic on June 1 in Eugene, Ore.
The 17-year-old finished the event with a time of 1:59.51. Her mark is the first time an American junior broke the two-minute threshold, establishing two records in the process. Kim Gallagher previously held both records with her mark of 2:00.07 from 1982.
"I definitely tried to stick to the race plan, but I was much more determined to hit a sub 2:00 mark," Cain said. "I am somewhat relieved to have hit the time because it has been a goal of mine for a very long time."
Cain, a high school junior, finished fifth competing against some of the world's best athletes who have won Olympic and World Championship medals. This was Cain's first race in a Diamond League event.
"Before this race, I was a little more nervous than usual," Cain said. "I tend to think solely of the process and just competing, but before this race, the 2:00 barrier was in the back of my mind."
Alysia Montano, who crossed the line in fourth, shared a special gift with Cain after the race. The four-time USA Outdoor champion presented Cain with her signature red flower.
"I have always looked up to her. When she came over, I was rather lost for words," Cain said of meeting Montano. "I complemented her flower, and the next thing I know, she was giving it to me. Now, I have a souvenir from an amazing trip to Eugene."
This is Cain's third selection as USATF's Athlete of the Week this year, tying Allyson Felix's record of three awards in 2012.
Now in its 12th year, USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2013 Winners: January 9, Bobby Mack; January 16, Mary Cain; January 22, Aje Wilson; January 30, Duane Solomon; February 6, Chris Derrick; February 13, Jeremy Taiwo; February 20, Alysia Montao; February 27, Galen Rupp; March 6, Jenn Suhr; March 13, Tia Brooks; March 20, Bridget Franek; March 27, Ben True; April 3, Darvis "Doc" Patton; April 10, Octavious Freeman; April 24, Erik Kynard; May 1, Queen Harrison; May 8, Tyson Gay; May 15, Jon Olsen; May 22, Mary Cain; May 29, Michael Tinsley; June 5, Mary Cain