The summer of West Virginia is upon us! The Mountaineer athletic calendar officially came to a close for the tumultuous 2020-21 season when Ceili McCabe took her shot at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships — but there is plenty to keep an eye on for the next couple of months until next season.
Here’s what you may have missed, and what to keep an eye on:
Track and Field
McCabe was the lone Mountaineer to represent WVU at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and she didn’t disappoint. She started her trip to Eugene, Oregon with another record-setting performance in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing the event in 9:39.27 for a ninth place overall finish. This was good enough to land her in the finals two days later, where she finished sixth with yet another record time of 9:37.39 — the 12th-fastest time in NCAA history.
With that run, McCabe set the program record for the steeplechase — three times in a row.
“I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to rise to this level of competition at West Virginia,” she said. “At the beginning of this year life was so up in the air and this meet seemed to be unrealistic. Should I make it back to this level in the future, I hope this experience will help me run even better. I am very happy with this performance.”
McCabe’s strong showings at the NCAAs earned her All-America status, the 40th in WVU program history.
Mark your calendars as the Big 12 unveiled the 2021 volleyball conference schedule on Wednesday.
This season’s conference schedule will resemble the 2020 slate, as each clash will feature a back-to-back series. The Mountaineers start at home on Sept. 24 and 25 when they host Oklahoma, and they will end on the road on Nov. 26-27 at TCU.
Last season, the Mountaineers pulled an even 8-8 mark in the Big 12, with an overall record of 10-11.
There is one major difference between 2021 and 2020 already, however — fans will be allowed into the Coliseum in full force.
Elsewhere in Mountaineer Nation
Jevon Carter is on the cusp of history. After his Phoenix Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Playoffs, he became the first Mountaineer on a team that made the NBA Conference Finals since Jerome Anderson’s 1976-77 rookie season with the Boston Celtics. Carter has made five appearances over the course of the playoffs, including three in the conference finals, in which he scored a total of four points.
The Suns still have yet to learn who their opponent will be as they await the result of the semifinal matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz. The series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 set to tip off at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
There is another unknown surrounding the Suns’ playoff push — star point guard Chris Paul has been ruled out indefinitely due to COVID-19. Paul missed just two games in the regular season, with Carter picking up sizeable minutes in both of those contests.
Over in the women’s game, Indiana Fever rookie Kysre Gondrezick is still getting her name called off the bench, recently setting a career-high with 17 minutes in an 83-79 loss to the Chicago Sky. Gondrezick is currently playing 10.6 minutes per game for the Fever, scoring 1.2 points per game as her squad struggles with a 1-12 record.
On the west coast, Bria Holmes has seen her minutes go up for the Los Angeles Sparks. She recently appeared in a pair of losses for the Sparks, averaging 16 minutes across the two of them, and scoring seven points in the first. Her averages are up to 4.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.
Sticking with the wild and wonderful Mountaineer women, two more Mountaineer footballers debuted for their home countries on the international stage. Current Mountaineer fullback Nicole Payne earned her first cap for Nigeria on June 10 when she was subbed on in the 90th minute as the Super Falcons fell to Jamaica 1-0 in USWNT Summer Series in Houston. Her appearance was special, not only because she didn’t expect to receive a call-up so early, but also because she joined her sister, Toni, on the pitch.
The next day, alumna Bianca St. Georges was substituted on the pitch for Canada in a friendly against the Czech Republic. She became the fifth Mountaineer to debut for Canada as she joined former WVU teammates Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence in the squad, and the ninth to do so for any senior international team.
Switching over to the baseball diamond, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah has continued to impress in his new big league home, picking up another pair of starts against the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox — two of the top teams in the American League — but was unable to pick up a win (or a loss) in either contest. Against Chicago, he gave up just one earned run on four hits in 5.0 innings, repeating those numbers against Boston in a 6.0-inning outing. Across both appearances, he struck out five batters.
That brings the rookie’s season numbers to a 2.66 ERA, a WHIP of 1.08 and a 1-0 win-loss record.
Now to the bottom of Manoah’s division — Baltimore Orioles ace John Means is officially eligible to come off the 10-day injured list, and started a throwing program on Tuesday. He was originally placed on the injured list due to an issue with his shoulder, however an MRI came back negative.
At Monongalia County Ballpark, several Mountaineers have been showing their stuff in the MLB Draft League while playing for the West Virginia Black Bears. Catcher Paul McIntosh has been the most impressive, appearing in six games so far and putting up a .375 batting average and 1.042 OPS in 24 at-bats, crushing two doubles and a triple in the process. Austin Davis, an outfielder, hasn’t had quite as much time at the plate, going hitless in eight at-bats so far — he does, however, have a walk.
On the mound, Madison Jeffrey and Zach Ottinger have given the Black Bears some strong arms out of the bullpen. Ottinger has given West Virginia 7.0 innings of work in five appearances, putting up a WHIP of 1.30 and a perfect 0.00 ERA so far. Madison Jeffrey, another reliever who joined the team after Ottinger, has given just 2.0 innings on the rubber in two appearances, racking up a 4.50 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP.