Stanford-bound Aisling Cuffe has been named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after her record-setting performance in the girls' two mile at last weekend's New Balance Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.
Cuffe's time of 9:54.22 bettered Molly Huddle's national high school two-mile record set in 2002 by nearly seven seconds. The senior from Hudson, N.Y., went out hard and grabbed an early lead, but was overtaken by Illinois native Kayla Beattie two laps in. After trailing Beattie for several laps, Cuffe made a move with 1,200m to go.
"I figured that Kayle Beattie would take the lead," Cuffe said. "My plan was just to kind of reel her in. By then my energy was slowly dropping cause it was a tough race, and I figured while I still had the energy to make the move, I should make it"
The strategy worked for Cuffe who finished more than 10 seconds ahead of Beattie and the rest of the field. The record-setting victory capped off Cuffe's impressive prep career that included first-place finishes in the 2010 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and 2011 New Balance Indoor two mile.
"It was really nice just to know that I went out well and that I didn't have a bad race in the last race of my high school career," Cuffe said.
Now in its 10th year, USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on the USATF website. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.