17-year-old phenom Mary Cain goes pro, signs with Nike

Photo: USATF
Photo: USATF

The NCAA, America’s college system, has produced some of the greatest North American runners ever. American high school phenom Mary Cain won’t be one of them.

Cain, a 17-year-old from New York state, wowed track fans throughout 2013 by breaking multiple American junior records. Her under-20 records in 2013 included 800m (1:59.51), 1500m (4:04.62) and the indoor mile (4:28.25). She also set several American high school records along the way.

Now, she is opting to skip going the NCAA route and has signed a pro deal with Nike. She will join coach Alberto Salazar’s group in Oregon.

“For the past couple of months, my family and I have been debating whether I should compete at a collegiate or professional level going forward,” Cain said in a statement issued by her agent, Rick Simms. “I have decided, and am truly excited to announce, that I will be turning pro.  I believe that, in the long run, this is the best way for me continue to develop as an athlete.”

Her incredible year also landed her a spot on the American world championship team. In Moscow, she placed 10th in the 1500m, becoming the youngest athlete to compete for the United States at Worlds.

She is already being coached by Alberto Salazar. Now that she has turned pro, formally signing a contract with Nike, she will no doubt join Salazar’s group in Oregon. In 2012-2013, Salazar coached Mo Farah to a “double-double;” double gold at the London Olympics and then double gold again in Moscow.