MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Redshirt junior Ceili McCabe of the No. 29 West Virginia University cross country team earned first-place at the 2022 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship at Blue and White Golf Course, hosted by Penn State University on Friday, Nov. 11.
McCabe finished the 6k with a time of 19:58.3, becoming the first Mountaineer to win back-to-back individual Mid-Atlantic titles. McCabe became the second WVU runner to win the Mid-Atlantic individual title in 2021 after Megan Metcalfe first took home the honor for the Mountaineers in 2002. McCabe has won all four races she has competed in this season.
“With Ceili controlling the front, our team knew that they needed to follow their race plans, and in doing so, stood a great chance of hitting the score we needed,” coach Sean Cleary said. “Returning home with four All-Regional performers, the winner and a fifth that continue to get better, we are very pleased.”
West Virginia finished in second place with 75 points, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship in the process. Four Mountaineers finished in the top-25 to earn All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors. Friday’s race marks the 14th time that WVU has qualified for the NCAA National Championship under Cleary. No. 13 Georgetown took home first place with 37 points.
“We came in knowing three or four teams had a legitimate shot at nailing the automatic spots for the NCAA finals, and we feel both grateful and accomplished in achieving this season-long goal,” Cleary said. “I must say this for the first time this season, we have dedicated our season to our very own Petal Palmer.”
Seven Mountaineers competed in Friday’s meet. Redshirt senior Charlotte Wood followed McCabe with a time of 20:46.4, earning 13th-place. Wood’s 6k time marks a new career best.
Sixth-year senior Mikaela Lucki continued her good form with a time of 20:51.0 and a 17th-place finish. Redshirt junior Katherine Dowie finished just after her in 18th, earning a time of 20:51.3.
Friday marks the second consecutive All-Mid-Atlantic Region honor for McCabe, Lucki and Dowie, with Wood earning the award for the first time.
“The trio of Wood, Lucki and Dowie were again stalking the girls they needed to beat throughout, as they got themselves into position with about three or four minutes to go,” Cleary said.
Redshirt junior Jeanne Reix Charat earned 27th with a time of 21:11.0 to round out the top-five for WVU, just missing NCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Regional honors by three seconds.
Redshirt senior Mikenna Vanderheyden followed Reix Charat in 44th-place, earning a time of 21:37.1. Redshirt sophomore Abbey Yuhasz finished 72nd with a time of 22:08.9 to round out the Mountaineers.
West Virginia was one of 26 schools racing in the women’s 6k at the Mid-Atlantic Regional with a total of 194 runners.
The Mountaineers return to action at the NCAA National Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Greiner Family OSU Cross Country Course.