MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ceili McCabe is headed back to Eugene to compete for a national title.
West Virginia’s standout redshirt freshman proved why she entered the NCAA Track & Field East Preliminary meet as the No. 2 ranked female runner in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
After running with the group for the first five laps, McCabe pushed her way to the front as the runners crossed the line with two laps to go. She never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
McCabe, who placed first with a time of 9:46.73, extended what was a lead of less than half of a second to nearly three seconds by the time she crossed the finish line.
The speedy Canadian has officially punched her ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field semifinals, which will take place in Eugene, Oregon beginning on Wednesday, June 8.
Overall, McCabe produced the third-best time, in the event. However, it was well short of her personal-best time of 9:32.14, meaning she could have some extra gas left in the tank when she arrives in Oregon.
WVU’s Katherine Dowie and Sylvia Russell also competed in the steeplechase. The Mountaineer duo both ran in the first heat of the quarterfinals.
Russell and Dowie each fell towards the back of the pack to start, but Russell moved her way up with each lap. The fifth-year senior ran as high as fourth and finished in fourth place with a time of 10:05.68.
That time not was roughly 15 seconds better than her personal best but fell 2.52 seconds short of qualifying for the national championship meet.
Dowie (10:27.03) placed ninth in the heat, and 30th overall in the event.
Redshirt senior Hayley Jackson placed ninth in her heat’s running of the 1,500 meter run. Overall, that placed her 21st in the field for the event.
West Virginia’s Cassandra Williamson (2:04.84) placed last in the second of three heats in the women’s 800 meter run.
That means seasons come to an end for four of the WVU athletes who ran on Saturday.
McCabe’s season, however, will continue on the national stage. Last season she finished sixth in the country in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the NCAAs.