Junior Ceili McCabe of the West Virginia University cross country team was named the Big 12 Women’s Runner of the Year, the conference announced on Tuesday. 

The Vancouver, British Columbia, native is the first-ever Mountaineer to win the honor. Previously, McCabe was named Big 12 Women’s Newcomer of the Year in 2019. 

“This was an extremely difficult award to win,” coach Sean Cleary said. “The top three athletes at the Conference Championship were as close as three seconds to each other. Those same three athletes finished third, fourth and fifth at the NCAA Championships, making the Big 12 the most prolific front three in the Country. Ceili was flawless throughout the season. This award is well deserved, as she edged out the best first, second and third in the Country.” 

The honor was awarded to McCabe after a remarkable 2021 cross country season, where she went undefeated throughout the regular season.  

Opening her 2021 season in a 5K at the Louisville Classic, McCabe recorded a personal-best time of 16:27.8 (5K).  

Going into the postseason, she finished first at the Big 12 Championships and was the first Mountaineer in program history to win the title. She was named to the All-Big 12 Team.  

McCabe finished first at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals and led the team to a second-place finish, giving the Mountaineers an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. She was named All-Region.  

She led the team to the NCAA Championships, where she became an All-American after a third-place finish with a career-high time of 19:29.5. Her finish was the best in Mountaineer program history. 

Additionally, during week five, McCabe was named National Athlete of the week by the United States Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and was named Big 12 Runner of the Week during weeks four and five of competition. 

Iowa State, Oklahoma State and West Virginia captured the 2021 Big 12 Cross Country individual honors in a vote of the league’s head coaches.