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A couple of old pros and a couple of rising stars dominated Saturday night's New Balance Grand Prix track and field meet at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr won the pole vault at this meet for the sixth straight year, clearing 15 feet and 8 inches, and Ethiopian Olympic champ Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's two-mile in 9:13.17, eight seconds faster than her winning time in the 2012 Boston meet. In that two-mile race 16-year-old American Mary Cain finished third and set a new high school record, running the race in 9:38.68. Cain broke the old mark by more than 15 seconds.
It's been an incredible winter for Cain. She broke the old high school record for the indoor mile last weekend and earlier in January she shattered a 37-year-old high school record for 3,000-meters with a time of 9:02.12. She seemed very comfortable on the big stage Saturday night.
"It was really fun," Cain said with her coach, marathon legend Alberto Salazar looking on. "It was cool having [Dibaba] next to me on the line. It was really an honor to run against her. It was amazing to be in the same race."
She said she wasn't worried about the record. "I was just running to run."
American Olympian Galen Rupp, who just missed the American indoor mile record in a race at Boston University a week ago, finished second in the men's 3,000-meters Saturday night. He was beaten by another promising youngster, 18-year-old Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, who ran 7:32.87. Rupp's 7:33.67 is the second faster ever by an American at that distance indoors.
Salazar also coaches Rupp, so combined with Cain's performance his athletes had a pretty good Saturday night in Boston. He said he told both runners to forget about their times in their races.
"I think she did great," he said about Cain's race. "I told her I don't care what your time is today, I just want you to compete, do the best you can and we don't worry about times. Same thing with Galen, you know Galen would like to break that American record, he's just going to go in and compete. If the race is right he might be able to break it. He was still a little tired from last week. I was pleased he was able to run 7:33 today."
For Jenn Suhr the Reggie Lewis Center at Roxbury College feels like her home court. She won her first national title in Boston way back in 2005.
"There's great energy here," she said. "I've just gotten so much support here and the crowd is amazing and the way it's run it's just so personal. I just feel the energy."
Another U.S. Olympian, Matthew Centrowitz, won the men's mile in 3:56.26 and Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast blazed through the 60-meters in 7.07 seconds, breaking a seven-year-old meet record.
This program aired on February 3, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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