Sixteen-year-old Mary Cain capped a week of four girls high school record performances Sunday at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona by destroying the 1,500-meter mark set by Jordan Hasay during a memorable race at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
At the concluding session of the world juniors, the Bronxville, N.Y., sophomore ran the race on the 1992 Olympic track in 4 minutes, 11.01 seconds to take more than three seconds off the record of 4:14.50 set by Hasay after her junior year at Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). No other high school athlete has run faster 4:16.
Cain, the youngest U.S. team member, finished sixth. The race was won in a meet record 4:04.96 by 18-year-old Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon, who is scheduled to run for Kenya at the Olympics in London next month. Cain's points helped the U.S. run up its highest ever total, 188 points, in World Junior competition, easily outdistancing runner-up Kenya (112), Germany (95) and Russia (85).
"Oh wow, new high school record by three seconds, whooo," said Cain after the race, according to USA Track & Field. "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."
The other high school records were set by Kendell Williams of Kell (Marietta, Ga.) in the heptathlon (5,578 points), and Brianna Nerud of North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.), who did it twice in the steeplechase while also setting an American junior (under 20) record of 10:00.72.
The USA won the most golds, nine, sweeping all four relays for the third consecutive time at the championships. High school athletes winning individual golds were Eric Futch of Penn Wood (Lansdowne, Pa.) in the men's 400 hurdles, 50.24, and Ajee Wilson of Neptune, N.J., in the women's 800, 2:00.91 (No. 2 all-time high school performer).