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High Schooler Mary Cain Makes Worlds

GH SCHOOL SENSATION CAIN MAKES WORLD CHAMPS TEAM
By David Monti

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

DES
MOINES, IOWA (22-Jun) — Mary Cain, the 17 year-old middle distance
sensation from Bronxville, N.Y., continued her conquest of the American
track and field scene here today, taking second in a tactical 1500m
final at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake
Stadium. With an explosive final lap of 57.86 seconds, Cain nearly beat
training partner Treniere Moser in the homestretch and qualified for
her first IAAF World Championships.

“I’m just so exhausted,”
said a clearly exhilarated Cain, clutching a small, yellow, plush duck
she calls Puddles. “I get to wear the Team USA uniform again. It’s an
awesome uniform. It’s what we’ve been talking about. I just really
wanted to get a uniform. It will be so exciting.”

The race went
out ridiculously slow. The field hit the 400m mark in about 85 seconds,
slower than an elite women’s marathon pace. Cain ran all the way in the
back, just a step behind Moser, who had won this title three
consecutive years beginning in 2005. That was the plan, she said.

“Coach
Salazar had all the confidence in me and Treniere,” Cain said in her
usual rapid-fire style. “He said Treniere is an amazing athlete. Go
with her and you’re on this team.”

Just before the bell, the
University of Florida’s Cory McGee had the lead, but Cain immediately
shot past her. Moser, who was on the inside rail, quickly followed and
began chasing the sprinting Cain, eventually catching her inside of the
final 20 meters. It never dawned on the former Georgetown star to back
off a little and let Cain win.

“No. I wanted #4 so bad,” said Moser. “Alberto (Salazar) told me to ‘get ugly.'”

Moser,
31, hit the finish tape just slightly in front of Cain, 4:28.62 to
4:28.76, the slowest winning time at these championships since 1968.
That mattered little to Moser who locked in her spot on the national
team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

“Absolutely, this is the best,” said Moser, her sunglasses perched on her head. “This one means the most to be by far.”

McGee
held on for third place and earned only a provisional spot on Team USA
because she possesses neither the “A” (4:05.50) or “B” (4:09.00)
standard for the event. She has until July 20th to get it and join
Moser and Cain on the team.

“I definitely believe that I am
capable of doing it,” McGee said. “I’ve been eager to be in a fast race
all year. So, I’d love to give it a shot; I’m not sure where or when.”

Should
McGee not achieve either the “A” or “B” standard, fourth place Shannon
Rowbury will be added to the team because she already has the “B”
standard.

The men’s metric mile was also a sit-and-kick
affair, just the perfect kind of race for global medalists Matthew
Centrowitz and Leo Manzano. Centrowitz, who recently set a personal
best at 800m, played it smart and ran close to the front, before
ratcheting up the pace with 300 meters to go, a prelude to a vicious
final 100 meter sprint. He ran the last lap in a blistering 51.04
seconds and was timed in 3:45.17 at the line.

“I’m thinking to
myself, what do I have to be nervous about?” he told reporters. “I’m in
great shape. If things go according to plan I said, in my head, I just
want to completely dominate this final. That’s what I set out to do.”

Behind
him, Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano showed his mastery of both
positioning and closing speed, darting wide out of the pack and
sprinting past everyone but Centrowitz. He ran nearly as fast for his
final circuit as the winner: 51.07 seconds. Two-time Olympian Lopez
Lomong finished third.

“I knew I had a really good burst,”
Manzano said in his post-race interview. “The only thing I was a little
worried was that I couldn’t get out to really work it to my full
potential in the last 120 meters. I was pretty much boxed in and I
found a little outlet where I had to jog out to lane four or five to
make it happen. But I felt really confident in my kick.”

Under
USA Track & Field rules, Centrowitz is assured a spot on the world
championships team by virtue of both his victory and possession of a
“B” standard time going into today’s race. Manzano and Lomong, who also
have achieved “B” marks this season, have until July 20th to improve to
the “A” standard of 3:35.00 (a team may have two “A”-qualified athletes
but only one “B”). (There are other scenarios, of course; too many to
list here.)

Out of team contention is two-time Olympian Andrew
Wheating. The former high school soccer player was in contention on the
final lap, but fell back dramatically with about 200m to go and
finished last in 4:01.55. He said a foot injury was to blame.

“My foot just basically exploded,” he told reporters. “It just couldn’t handle the pressure from the spike.”

* * * * *

PHOTO: Treniere Moser wins her fourth USA 1500m
title, narrowly defeating Mary Cain

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