INDIANAPOLIS -- Mary Cain (Bronxville, N.Y.) and Brian Pilcher (Ross, Calif.) have earned Youth & Masters Athletes of the Year titles, USA Track & Field announced Tuesday, Dec. 3. Cain and Pilcher will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Indianapolis, Ind. The event is held in conjunction with the 2013 USA Track & Field Annual Meeting.
For 17-year-old Mary Cain, 2013 has been the best year of her young career. The Youth Athlete of the Year nod is just one the many honors bestowed upon the youngster, having been recently named the Female Rising Star at the IAAF World Athletics Gala in Monaco. Cain is the youngest American athlete ever to represent the United States at a World Championships meet, and she qualified for the U.S. team with her second-place in the women’s 1,500 meters at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships.
“I am thrilled to have been named the USATF Youth Athlete of the Year,” Cain said. “The past recipients of this award are inspiring athletes and to join this amazing group is an incredible honor. I want to thank USA Track & Field for this award and for their support.”
Cain was impressive on the world stage, finishing fifth in the semifinals of the women’s 1,500m at the 2013 IAAF World Championships with a time of 4:05.21 to become the youngest 1,500m finalist in World Championships history. She set seven national high school records in 2013 along with five national junior records.
Pilcher, the 2012 Masters Runner of the Year and a three-time Runner of the Year for his age group, is the 2013 Masters Athlete of the Year. Returning to running in 2006, the 57-year-old Pilcher has been virtually unstoppable, grading out at 90% or higher in nearly every race he enters. In his final race of 2013, Pilcher won his age group at the Master’s 12 km Championship at the inaugural .US Championships, crossing in 42:03 and grading out at 93.57%.
“It’s really an amazing honor. It is more than I could have ever imagined when I started running again seven years ago,” Pilcher said. “The thing that’s so special about this is that there are so many amazing athletes and to be selected from a group of so many special runners, that makes this award even more spectacular.”
Pilcher won his age group at seven total races in 2013, all of them part of the USA Masters Championships series. At the USA Masters 5 km Championships in Syracuse, N.Y., Pilcher graded out as the top male in the field at an extraordinary 95.54 percent, crossing in 16:22.
The Youth Athlete of the Year award was established in 2001 to recognize an outstanding performance by an athlete under the age of 19. The Masters Athlete of the Year award was established in 2004 to recognize the outstanding performances by 40-and-over athletes. Lists of the previous Youth Athlete of the Year and Masters Athlete of the Year are available on USATF.org.