The intricacies of navigating a new event haven’t kept WVU redshirt freshman Ceili McCabe from excelling in steeplechase.
On Thursday evening, the relative newcomer to the event continued an outstanding upward arc, finishing ninth in a semifinal of the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:39.27 at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
McCabe competed favorably with a strong field in the event. Eleven of the 12 qualifiers in the finals set personal bests, with several athletes hitting all-time top-10 marks in collegiate history in the semifinal rounds. McCabe and Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich are the only two freshmen to make the finals, joining three juniors and seven seniors.
In her NCAA Outdoor Championships debut, McCabe broke WVU’s 3,000 meter steeplechase program record for the third time in her career. She finished in sixth place in her heat and will move on to the final round, which will take place on Saturday, June 12, at 6:24 p.m. ET.
“Ceili was tremendous out there today,” said coach Sean Cleary. “She is a little rough around the edges with her hurdling form, but that’s normal for somebody so new to the event. Her poise and race execution are that of a veteran. We will now chat about the finals and how she might maximize her place on Saturday. This is very exciting.”
The Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, native is competing in her first career NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. McCabe qualified for the NCAA nationals with a third-place finish at the NCAA East Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 29. Her winning time of 9:51.81 was a school program record.
McCabe helped lead the Mountaineers to their first-ever Big 12 Championship win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase competition at a conference meet. She ranks first in the Big 12 Conference in the event.