WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Mary Cain's grandmother chose a purple, white and silver ribbon for the sophomore track star's appearance at the 45th Loucks Games at White Plains High School Friday and the rest of the 800-meter field got a great view of the pony tail accessory as Cain raced to a state and meet record in a sparkling 2:03.34, more than three seconds better than the Loucks record of 2:07.81 set in 2001.
Cain's feat was also the best time in the nation at the distance for a high school runner this year. Diana Richburg set the New York State 800-meter standard of 2:03.7 on July 21, 1982 at White Plains High School.
"I felt like I stayed within myself for the first 400 and then got a chance to run through the finish," said Cain, who has already reached an Olympic Trials qualifying time in the 800 and is just one tenth of a second off the trials standard for the 1,500 meters. "This is a good track to run on and the field was pretty strong, so I'm happy with the result."
Cain, a sophomore sensation in cross country and indoor and outdoor track at the middle distances who holds several New York State records and is a top 800 and 1,500 and indoor miler, has a habit of winning her local races easily. She set a personal best 4:17.1 at the Somers Relays a week ago, just one tenth from the trials standard of 4:17.
"I'm getting a lot of competitive running at the end of the season and now that I've taken AP tests I'm focused on having good races," she said. "I'm hoping to keep improving through the sectionals and state meets. I have a good idea of what I can do in each race and I'm running well right now."
And Cain's opponents can look forward to her next choice in hair ribbons.
The Loucks Games continue tomorrow beginning at 9 a.m. with ceremonies at noon and a full schedule of track and field events.