The West Virginia cross country team finished in 29th place at the NCAA Championships, led by sophomore Ceili Mccabe, who crossed the finish line in 42nd place with a time of 21:01.02.
"Obviously, we are not thrilled with this team performance," head coach Sean Cleary said. "We felt we could come in here and exceed. Not equal our ranking. The team started a little slower than I would have liked. We knew this course was very difficult, and with the temperatures a little warm, we planned on getting off the line conservative.”
Katherine Dowie was the second Mountaineer to cross the line in 150th place, finishing with a time of 21:51.7 followed by Haley Jackson in 183rd who finished with a time of 22:14.4. Antigone Archer finished in 208th in 22:34.8 with Mikenna Vanderheyden just behind her in 228th place with a time of 22:51.9. Petal Palmer and Marianne Abdalah were the final finishers for the Mountaineers, finishing in 245th and 247th.
"I am especially pleased with Ceili," Cleary said. "Running within one second of an All-American position is outstanding for her first shot at this race. We simply need to go home and make the decision that we want to be a lot better at next year's championships. Moments like this separate those who say they want to be good and those who become great. Time will tell."
WVU as a team earned 668 points, giving it a 29th-place finish. The top-five finishers in the championship were BYU (96 points), NC State (161 points), Stanford (207 points), Michigan State (212) and Minnesota (239).
Although it wasn’t the finish the Mountaineers wanted, Cleary is optimistic about the team’s future next year and this track season.
"My thinking is that we could have been a little further up the field in the first five minutes, Cleary said. "That would have made it a little easier to move through. A few of the ladies experienced unfortunate mishaps during the race, but at the end of the day, these things happen. This experience should be a good springboard into the track season. It should give the team confidence for when they get back on the line next fall."