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Age knows no bounds

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Seaman, Cain span track generations

Tim Seaman won his 45th United States track-and-field title Sunday, Mary Cain her first.

Cain is 16 years old, Seaman 40.

Seaman’s career is nearing its end. Cain’s is just beginning.

Somewhere in the middle is Will Leer, 27, who ran what is believed to be the fastest mile ever run at altitude.

The 2013 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships concluded Sunday at the Albuquerque Convention Center in front of a crowd announced at 2,080, following a Saturday session that drew about 2,140.

Regarding Cain, the precocious teenager from Bronxville, N.Y., the obvious conclusion is that she’s the new Mary Decker.

Sunday, she won the women’s mile in the incredibly slow time of 5 minutes, 5.68 seconds. But Cain, who has run a 4:28.5, showed maturity in realizing the race’s slow pace was to her advantage.

“I was kind of glad, honestly,” she said, “because I knew I had a kick. I was like, if nobody wants to go now I’ll go the last 400 and I’ll really kill it in. And that’s exactly what I did.”

The pace in Seaman’s event, the 3,000-meter race walk, wasn’t too much slower than in Cain’s. The two-time Olympian outdistanced runner-up Patrick Stroupe by some 21 seconds, winning in 12:08.65.

Time is running out on Seaman’s illustrious race-walking career. But, he said, that’s perfectly OK under the circumstances.

His wife, Rachel, also a race walker, is pregnant with the couple’s first child and is due in May.

Meanwhile, Seaman wants to focus on coaching. He coaches some of the nation’s top race walkers, including Maria Michta, who Sunday won her fourth consecutive women’s 3,000 title, and Trevor Barron, the 2012 men’s champion.

Barron was scheduled to compete Sunday – “he would have crushed me,” Seaman said – but withdrew because of illness.

Sick, in a good way, describes the duel in the men’s mile between Leer and Craig Miller. Leer edged Miller by 11 hundredths of a second in 3:58.79, a time believed to be the best ever run indoors at an altitude of 1,000 meters (about 3,820 feet) above sea level or more.

“I never would have said we would run under four minutes,” Leer said. “I’m impressed with my run myself, I have to say.”

Los Alamos High School graduate Ryan McNiff finished fifth in 4:05.24.

In another exciting race, Eric Sowinski held off Robby Andrews to win the men’s 800 meters in an indoor personal-best time of 1:47.09.

“I was kind of afraid kicking against Robby and Matt (Centrowitz), but I had it today,” Sowinski said. “I knew (Andrews) would be coming at some point. He has an incredible kick.”

Sowinski’s just getting a kick out of life.

The 23-year-old set an American 600-meter record at the Millrose Games in New York on Feb. 16. But, as of now, the former Iowa All-American has no agent and no sponsor. He’s working 30 hours a week at a running shoe and apparel store in Iowa City.

“I’m still waiting on that phone call,” he said. “But I’m having fun, and that’s what it’s all about to me right now.”

Ryan Whiting entered Sunday’s men’s shot put competition with the world’s best mark of the indoor season. He bettered that effort significantly Sunday with a throw of 71 feet, 6 1/2 inches.

And, he said, he can do better.

“I’ve been training with the outdoor shot,” he said, “so the indoor shot tends to come off my hand a little early and I don’t get all of it. So, (71-6 1/2) is kind of a good sign when I look toward the outdoor (season).”

Elsewhere:

Amanda Smock successfully defended her women’s triple-jump title with a winning leap of 44-9 1/2. Smock is a 2012 Olympian and was a three-time NCAA Division II champion at North Dakota State.

Brad Walker, the four-time defending champion in the men’s pole vault, failed to make it five. Jordan Scott won the event at 18-4 1/2.

Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter finished fifth in a Masters pole vaulting competition by clearing the bar at 11-1 3/4. Winter is the man most responsible for the purchase of the city-owned Mondo indoor track on which nationals were contested.

Winter also had the honor of handing a winner’s medal to Jenn Suhr, who on Saturday set a world indoor record in the pole vault.

Only a handful of people were still in attendance at the end of Saturday’s session when Suhr cleared the bar at 16-5 1/2.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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