MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Freshman in red shirt Ceili McCabe and junior red shirt Hayley Jackson led the West Virginia University Track and Field team to nine All-Big 12 performances at the 2022 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship May 13-15 at Fuller Track and Field in Lubbock, TX.
The Mountaineers opened the action on day two of the Big 12 Championship. Saturday night was highlighted by McCabe, who was the 3,000-metre steeplechase champion for the second straight year. McCabe finished the race with a time of 10:12.87.
“We left the competition last night very happy with how the day went for us,” coach Sean Clery said. “Two qualifications for the 800m and 1500m finals are a first in the program’s history.”
Jackson placed fifth (4:28.14) in Saturday’s 1,500-metre preliminaries and qualified for the final, where she placed second overall in 4:23.02.
Senior Mikenna Vanderheyden also competed in the 1,500 metres, placing seventh (4:28.44) in Saturday’s preliminaries. Vanderheyden qualified for the final round and finished in sixth place (4:30.88).
“This afternoon the championship started with a huge run by Hayley and Mikenna over 1,500 metres,” Cleary said. “So far this past winter and spring, Hayley has struggled in her ordeal, but never let go of her belief that she could regain her position among the top Big 12 milers. Vanderheyden joined Hayley in the All-Big 12 Championship team with its sixth-place finish.”
Also, in the hurdle race, fifth-year senior Sylvia Russel was fourth in 10:31.32, and senior Catherine Dowie placed fifth in 10:41.39.
“I’m very proud of how well the steeplechase chasers did finishing first, fourth and fifth. Ceili looked very strong as she won her second consecutive Big 12 Championship steeplechase title, while Sylvia and Katherine both added 12 accolades to their All-Big accolades,” Cleary said.
Also, on Saturdays, second year students Cassandra Williamson and Jo Lauren Keane qualified for the 800m final. In the prelims, Keane was second in 2:06.04, while Williamson was third in 2:06.21. In the final, Williamson placed seventh overall in 2:09.14, while Keane placed eighth in 2:15.44.
“The women’s 800 meters had two WVU runners in the final for the first time ever,” Cleary said. “While it was hoped the result would be a bit better, I couldn’t be more proud of the season Cassandra and Jo have had so far. It has been hugely fun to watch them. They were both in the finals and qualified for the NCAA. brands next to their names. While we were hoping for a little more, they go home with All-Big 12 accolades. They are very hard on themselves and expect more. For right now, we’re going to enjoy it and move on to the next one.
Saturday’s action was capped off by juniors Katelyn Caccamo and second Lynsie Curtis in the pole vault. Curtis tied his personal best.
Also in the field, senior Peter Gay McKenzie achieved his second best personal mark of the season in the long jump competition. McKenzie placed 15th overall with a distance of 5.93 meters.
“The jumpers came out and competed really hard,” Cleary said. “Lynsie equaled her best-ever record, while Peter-Gay skipped the second-best mark of the season.”
Senior Tessa Constantine recorded a second personal best time of 1:00.01 in the 400-meter hurdles to close the races on Saturday.
“Tess posted her second fastest time ever in the hurdles which set the tone for a perfect end to an incredibly impressive day,” Cleary said.
Sunday’s action continued with the 5,000 meters, where redshirt junior Charlotte Bois and second Maria Kaylor respectively sixth (17:01.19) and seventh (17:03.71).
“Due to outside weather conditions, the women’s 5,000 meters has been moved from the evening to this morning,” Cleary said. “Benefiting from the early start, we saw Charlotte and Maria sail beautifully through their first 5k championship while winning All-Big 12 titles.
“I’m very proud of this group, both on and off the track,” Cleary said. “We competed last weekend in 47 degree temperatures and got off the plane in Lubbock to find conditions ranging from 95 to 102 each day. We come away with nine All-Big 12 athletes, 11 finalists among Top 10 and a few more NCAA qualifiers.”
Next, the Mountaineers wait to see who will advance to the 2022 NCAA East preliminary round. The event takes place May 25-28 at the Robert C. Haugh Complex-Outdoor Track and Field in Bloomington, Indiana.
Athletes who place in the top 48 in their respective events earn a spot in the NCAA East preliminary rounds. Additionally, the top 24 relay times qualify for the NCAA Preliminaries. Athletes with the top 12 times/scores and top 12 relay teams at the East and West Preliminary Round venues will qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The decathlon and heptathlon will not be held during the NCAA preliminary rounds. Instead, the nation’s top 24 decathlon and heptathlon scores automatically earn a spot on the NCAA Championship site.
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