Flashback Friday: Mary Cain Sets National Freshman Record at New York State Meet

In honor of this weekend's New York State Championship, MileSplit is throwing it back to 2011, when Mary Cain ran 4:17.84 over 1500m to win the New York State Championship and set the national freshman class record. Watch the video above of the fastest 1500m in New York state history, then read the race day recap below by Christopher Hunt, originally published on June 11, 2011 on NY MileSplit. The race produced the top four fastest 1500m times in meet history, but can Sammy Watson, Kelsey Chmiel and Jess Lawson take down the record this year? Tune in to MileSplit this weekend to watch and find out! The Girls 1500m Final is at 11:25 a.m. on Saturday.

Cain Runs Freshman 1500m Record; U.S. No. 7 All-Time

By Christopher Hunt for New York MileSplit

JUNE 11, 2011, CALEDONIA, N.Y. - Mary Cain pointed at Cornwall's Aisling Cuffe and wanted everyone to know that "that kid over there is my idol."

Then the Bronxville freshman ribbed Cuffe for refusing to lead the race. But Cuffe had done the smart thing. She followed Cain while the freshman added one more astonishing race to her dream season. Cain mashed her own state record at the New York State Championships Saturday at Caledonia-Mumford.

She set a national freshman record while winning the 1,500 state federation championship in 4:17.84. The time is the seventh-fastest in the United States all-time and led the greatest 1,500-meter race in New York State history. Cuffe finished second in 4:19.83 while Courtney Chapman of Fayetteville-Manilus third in 4:23.01 - all faster than Cain's previous state record of 4:23.1.

Cuffe shadowed Cain the entire race until Cain broke away with a 63.5-second final lap.

"No wonder, I'm so tired," Cain said. "I can't feel my legs."

The 1,500 played up to be showdown off a handful of the best distance runners that New York State has ever known. The moment never overwhelmed Cain. She said she hoped that Cuffe would take the pace but once she found herself with the lead she did the only thing she thought she could.

"I ran like I was being chased by a pack of jaguars, which I was," Cain said.

The freshman led wire-to-wire and never allowed anyone to make a significant move, essentially towing the field to a historic run.

"When I saw the time, I said they made a mistake," Cain said. "I'm not that fast."

But Cain is that fast. She might even be faster, if you ask Cuffe. The Stanford signee gave Cain maybe another year to top the 3,000-meter state record Cuffe set Friday. And as dominant as Cuffe has been this year, she was awed by Cain's running style.

"I did not expect to her run 4:17," Cuffe said. "But that's the last time you'll hear me say that. I think she can do anything. Her stride is perfect. She looks perfect. I expected her to be smooth but she looked like she was skating."

Cain has become a national phenom this season, ranking in the top three in the nation in the 800, 1,500, mile and 3,000.  She will be considered the favorite going into the mile at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals next week in North Carolina.

Editor's Note: The 2011 Girls 1500m is still the fastest race ever recorded at the New York State Championships, as the top four 1500m times in meet history were recorded that year: Cain (4:17.84), Cuffe (4:19.83), Chapman (4:23.01) and Kelsey Margey (4:23.82).

Sammy Watson ran 4:25.24 to win here last year and another super frosh in Saratoga Springs' Kelsey Chmiel has run US #5 4:23.81. Can they take a shot at the meet record? Tune in to MileSplit this weekend to watch and find out! The Girls 1500m Final is at 11:25 a.m. on Saturday.