Five top-25 finishes led the West Virginia University cross country team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, hosted by Lehigh University, on Friday morning, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Junior Ceili McCabe’s first-place finish helped lead the Mountaineers to a second-place team finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals to obtain an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Championships.
McCabe, fifth-year senior Sylvia Russell, redshirt junior Katherine Dowie, redshirt junior Mikaela Lucki and fifth-year senior Hayley Jackson paced the Mountaineers, finishing inside the top 25 and collecting All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors in the process.
McCabe was named the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion after registering a 6k time of 20:05.7. Russell was behind her, placing 14th, with a time of 20:49.1. Dowie followed, ranking 16th in a time of 20:53.2.
Lucki finished the race in 20:54.0, good for 17th, and Jackson rounded out the Mountaineers in the top 25 after crossing the line in 21:00.4, good for 19th.
Additionally, sophomore Maria Kaylor finished in 59th in a time of 22:05.2. Senior Charlotte Wood was the next Mountaineer to finish, as she posted a time of 22:55.7, good for 102nd place and to round out the Mountaineers’ scoring.
The Mountaineers collected 67 team points to finish in second place. Georgetown took the top spot with 43 points, and Villanova followed behind West Virginia in third, with 105. Princeton (122) and Penn State (159) rounded out the top five.
Georgetown and West Virginia earned automatic bids into the 2021 NCAA Championships on Nov. 20, in Tallahassee, Florida.
WVU’s second-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional is its highest finish since 2016 when the team finished fourth at Penn State’s Blue-White Golf Course.
Friday’s race featured 27 teams and 193 runners. It also marked the Mountaineers’ second visit to Lehigh’s home course this season and their eighth since 2009.
The five all-region honors are the most for the squad since 2019 when Jackson, Candace Archer and McCabe were named to All-Mid-Atlantic Region.
A total of 31 teams advance to the national meet, with 18 automatic bids (top-two teams in each of the nine regions) and 13 at-large bids up for grabs.
Additionally, a total of 38 individual runners will be selected to compete at nationals following team qualifications. The top-four finishers at each regional from non-qualifying teams receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, as long as they finish in the top 25 at the regional meet. Two at-large bids for remaining runners in a national pool of top-25 finishers also will be selected.
In the most recent United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings, the Mountaineers were slotted at No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
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