Mary Cain

Mary Cain wins World Junior Championships 3000m (video)

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Mary Cain showed veteran savvy to notch the biggest international victory of her young career, sprinting past two Kenyans to win the 3000m at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday night.

Cain, 18 and the youngest American to make a senior World Championships team last summer, appeared boxed in with 200m to go but found an opening with about 120m left and sprinted to win in a personal best 8 minutes, 58.48 seconds. She won by 2.05 seconds.

“That was just such an amazing finish,” Cain told reporters while holding a fun size Twix bar. “That last 50 [meters], I just felt so good. I know you’re not really supposed to look up at the screen, but I was still looking up like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope I’m in the lead.’ That last 50 was amazing with the crowd. There was nowhere else that they would have been that loud for me.”

Cain, a professional with the Nike Oregon Project, is the home headliner of the meet, evidenced by roars from an announced crowd of 8,112 at Hayward Field.

The recent Bronxville, N.Y., high school graduate overcame a physical race to better her winning time from the U.S. Junior Championships by 17 seconds.

“There was a lot of jostling,” Cain said, according to The Associated Press. “I know I’m supposed to keep running, but I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry!'”

Cain, who is entering her freshman year in the University of Portland honors program, has said she will race on the Diamond League circuit later when it picks up again in August.

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2018 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships broadcast schedule

Matthew Centrowitz, Jenny Simpson
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NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold combine to air daily live coverage of the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships from Thursday through Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Athletes will compete for national titles and spots on the team for the first Athletics World Cup in London next month. More details on Athletics World Cup qualifying here.

While veteran Olympic champions will miss the event, a new generation of sprinters headlines the entry lists. A full competition schedule is here.

Noah Lyles and Michael Norman, who were fourth and fifth in the 2016 Olympic Trials 200m as 18-year-olds, have been the most impressive U.S. male sprinters this season and go head-to-head for the first time in two years.

Sydney McLaughlin, who reached the Rio Olympic 400m hurdles semifinals as a 17-year-old, is entered in the 400m.

Olympic and world champions also scatter the distance races and field events, including Matthew Centrowitz and Jenny Simpson (1500m), Emma Coburn (3000m steeplechase), Christian Taylor (Olympic triple jump champ also entered in the 400m), Tianna Bartoletta and Jeff Henderson (long jump), Jenn Suhr (pole vault) and Michelle Carter and Ryan Crouser (shot put).

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Day Time (ET) Network Key Events
Thursday 2-11 p.m. NBC Sports Gold 100m first round, 10,000m finals
Friday 12:30-11 p.m. NBC Sports Gold 100m finals, 400m semifinals
11 p.m.-1 a.m. NBCSN, Gold
Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. NBC Sports Gold Finals: 400m, 1500m, 100m hurdles
4-6 p.m. NBC, Gold
Sunday 12:30-6 p.m. NBC Sports Gold Finals: 200m, 5000m, 110m hurdles
4-6 p.m. NBC, Gold

Allyson Felix among sprinters to miss USATF Outdoor Championships

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Olympic gold medalists Allyson FelixJustin GatlinTori BowieLaShawn MerrittBrianna McNealKerron Clement and Dalilah Muhammad are among the stars not entered in this week’s USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christian Coleman, who took 100m silver at 2017 Worlds between Gatlin and Usain Bolt, will also miss the event.

Any athlete not on the current entry list will not compete.

Big-name absences aren’t shocking this year given it is the only year in the four-year cycle without an Olympics or world championships to qualify for at nationals.

Felix, Gatlin, Bowie and Coleman have all dealt with injuries or withdrawn from international meets this spring. Merritt hasn’t raced on the Diamond League circuit this season.

Felix, the American record holder with 25 combined Olympic and world outdoor championships medals, will not race at senior nationals for the first time since 2002, when she was 16 years old.

A new generation of sprinters will headline nationals, including Noah Lyles and Michael Norman in the 200m and Sydney McLaughlin in the 400m. Phyllis Francis, the world 400m champion, is entered in the 200m. Kori Carter, the world 400m hurdles champion, is in the 100m hurdles with world-record holder Kendra Harrison.

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MORE: Usain Bolt’s Olympic spikes stolen