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Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012: Bronxville star Cain will not defend state title

   Leading off today: After months of speculation and conjecture, we now know it's possible that Mary Cain has run her last race representing a high school.

   Cain, the Bronxville junior who is a two-time defending NYSPHSAA champion in cross country, says she will “probably not as of now” represent the Broncos in track, either, according to The Journal News. Instead, Cain will focus on selected national-caliber meets while training with coach Alberto Salazar, a legendary international competitor. The first collaboration will come Nov. 3 when Cain runs vs. professionals at the Dash to the Finish Line 5-K in Manhattan, a day before the New York City Marathon.

   Bypassing prize money and competing at meets such as the Nike Cross Nationals or Foot Locker as well as the USATF circuit would not affect Cain's amateur status, keeping college eligibility intact for arguably the best U.S. teen distance prospect since Mary Decker. It would also allow her to be more selective in choosing meets after a hectic sophomore year that extended deep into the summer.

   “A talent like hers only comes around once in a generation," Salazar told Runners World. "If you get a kid like her running right at a young age, she can accomplish incredible things. Mary is a girl with a special gift, and she and her family see an opportunity to develop that gift.”

   Salazar, 54, is a three-time New York City Marathon winner whose coaching profile was raised by his work with recent Olympic medalists Mo Farah and Galen Rupp in the Nike Oregon Project club.

   "When the opportunity came along to work with Alberto Salazar, it was just very clear this was a necessary step in her training as an athlete,” said Charles Cain, Mary’s father. “What I particularly liked in speaking to him and following his training of other athletes is he takes a gradualist approach and he focuses a lot on biomechanics.”

   Cain placed 18th in the 800 meters at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., this summer and sixth in the 1,500 at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona as the youngest competitor in the field, breaking the U.S. scholastic record in 4:11.01. If was at that meet that Salazar reportedly took an interest in coaching her.

   “I was the basic nerdy kid thrilled to get her picture taken with the legend,” Cain told the magazine.

   Salazar will remain based out west and Cain will remain at Bronxville, where Salazar will line up a coach to football site

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supervise workouts that he designs.

   “It’s not perfect,” Salazar says of the arrangement. “But Mary and her parents don’t want her to leave home. She’s a very bright girl with a solid family foundation who understands what we’re trying to accomplish, and who is extremely grounded and motivated. We’re going to take it one step at a time. Mary will get faster, but at the same time, as with all my athletes, I’m thinking long-term. We’re looking 10 years down the road.”

   Hmmmmm: Justin Rodriguez of The Times Herald-record tweeted Monday that the coaches at James I. O'Neill, ranked 12th in the state in Class C, were unhappy to have their regular-season football final postponed until yesterday.

   Now we know just how unhappy they really were. O'Neill's starters did not play, and Highland (4-4) went on to a 37-0 win. Joe Pugliese rushed for two touchdowns.

   O'Neill (6-2) now has a quick turnaround for its Section 9 semifinal against Sullivan West on Friday.

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