NEW YORK – Minutes after the Millrose Games women’s Wanamaker Mile Saturday, Mary Cain, whose smile filled the Armory just a year earlier, was in a crumpled heap, too distraught to talk.
Cain, 18, who won the race as a Bronxville High senior last year in 4:27.73, faded from third with two laps to go to eighth. She finished in 4:31.31, just in front of Iona College’s Rosie Clarke (4:31.78) and well behind Oregon Project teammate Shannon Rowbury, who won in 4:24.32.
But Oregon Project assistant coach Pete Julian didn’t seem disappointed in Cain’s night, characterizing it as a stepping stone on the way to future Olympic appearances.
“It’s a learning process for Mary. This was a really hot, fast race,” Julian said. “She was engaged through 1,2000 (meters). She ran out of gas. We’ll take that every time. … Once her conditioning and strength catches up, that will make her great,” he said, adding, “She’s already great — doubly great.”
Cain’s disappointment was shared by Tappan Zee’s Luke Gavigan, the defending boys mile champ whose 4:26.60 clocking left him 11th out of 12. Carmel’s Benito Muniz, who led for four of eight laps, finished in 4:17.54 for eighth. Port Jefferson’s James Burke won in 4:11.25.
But it wasn’t all about disappointment for local athletes.
Halfway through the 4×800 girls relay, Mamaroneck was in fourth place. Not bad for a team that, as Katie DeVore explained, had to “beg our way” into the Games.
And not bad became a whole lot better.
The Tigers — Lauren Chapey, Lauren Shpiz, DeVore and Shari Rauls — pulled off one of the day’s biggest upsets, smashing their own team mark by an incredible 21 seconds to win in 9:09.36.
Bronxville was second in 9:10.16. North Rockland was seventh (9:29.95).
“We never actually thought we’d win. We wanted to run 9:20,” Chapey said. DeVore characterized the group as “shocked.”
But there were other surprises, including North Rockland anchor Wyatt Brooks coming from behind at the wire to edge Mount Vernon’s Rai Benjamin to give the Red Raiders the boys 4×400 title in 3:23.29. Mount Vernon finished in 3:23.33.
“We just got to want it — the school record and a personal (team) best,” said Brooks, whose teammates, Chima Ezeilo, Tarique Wilson and Philippe Louisjuste, had to help hold him up post-race because he was cramping.
Brooks, who said his team was surprised to have qualified for Millrose, was optimistic it could do even better, saying, “We’ve just got the potential to continue growing.”
North Rockland’s Wyatt Brooks came from behind to edge out Mount Vernon’s Rai Benjamin to win the boys high school 4 x 400 meter relay at the 2015 Millrose Games at the New Balance Armory in Manhattan Feb. 14, 2015.
Suffern’s Nicole Becker, Imani Solan, Renee Liporace and Kamryn McIntosh also beat their team-best mark in winning the girls 4×400 in 3:50.3.
The squad was shooting for a 3:52.
“This sets the tone for the rest of the season,” Liporace said.
In other results, Ursuline’s Anna Flynn finished fifth in the girls mile in 5:01.41 and Hackley’s Julia Stevenson was seventh (5:02.10).
And in one of the more emotionally-charged races, eight-time men’s mile winner Bernard Lagat, 40, finished fourth but his 3:54.91 time broke Eamonn Coghlan’s Masters mile mark of 3:58.15. The winner, Mathhew Centrowitz, ran 3:51.35.