Mary Cain, the 17-year-old running phenom who broke the 800m American junior and high school records at the Prefontaine Classic over the weekend, has been named USA Track & Field’s athlete of the week.
Cain clocked in at 1:59.51, making her the first American junior to ever come in under 2 minutes. She finished fifth in the elite field, behind such runners as 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yekaterina Poistogova and 2011 Worlds bronze medalist Jaqneth Jepkosgei.
"I definitely tried to stick to the race plan, but I was much more determined to hit a sub 2:00 mark," Cain said in a USATF story. "I am somewhat relieved to have hit the time because it has been a goal of mine for a very long time."
The event was the high school junior's first race at a Diamond League meet.
After the race ended, Cain got another special treat: Fourth-place finisher Alysia Montano, a four-time U.S. outdoor champion, gave Cain her signature red flower. Montano wears a flower in her hair during every race.
"I have always looked up to her. When she came over, I was rather lost for words," Cain said. "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."
Cain has received the Athlete Of the Week honor three times this year, matching Allyson Felix's record from 2012.