West Virginia cross country prepped for Regionals

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Photo: WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University cross country team looks to secure a spot in the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships as they compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Friday, Nov. 12.  

The women’s championship 6k race is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus Cross Country Course. Live results from the meet will be available at WVUsports.com

“The season to date has been very good,” coach Sean Cleary said. “A few moments along the way, we wanted to be a little better and have plans to do just that tomorrow. 

“The first round of the NCAA Championships brings a different feel to our prior meets. A little more excitement, a little more pressure and with those two elements, an incredible opportunity to move on to face the finest runners in the country. We are heathy, fit and excited.” 

Friday marks the Mountaineer’s second visit to Lehigh’s campus this season.  

In all, 30 teams are set to compete at Lehigh, vying for the top-two spots and automatic bids to the 2021 NCAA Championships, scheduled for Nov. 20, in Tallahassee, Florida. 

A total of 31 teams advance to the national meet, with 18 automatic bids (top-two teams in each of the nine regions) and 13 at-large bids up for grabs. 

Additionally, a total of 38 individual runners will be selected to compete at nationals following team qualifications. The top-four finishers at each regional from non-qualifying teams receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, as long as they finish in the top 25 at the regional meet. Two at-large bids for remaining runners in a national pool of top-25 finishers also will be selected. 

In the most recent United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings, the Mountaineers were slotted at No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

Friday’s race marks WVU’s eighth visit to Lehigh since 2009. The team competed in the Lehigh Invitational earlier this season. 

The 2020 Mid-Atlantic Regional was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

In previous years, WVU has raced at the Goodman Course in the Paul Short Run and the Lehigh Invitational. The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Regional also was hosted by Lehigh, in which WVU placed fifth. 

The Mountaineers last competed at the 2021 Big 12 Championship, on Friday, Oct. 29, at the OSU Cross Country Course. Junior Ceili McCabe took home the individual Big 12 Women’s Cross Country title after her first-place finish in the 6K.  

McCabe finished in a time of 20:44.2, marking the first time a Mountaineer has won the Big 12 individual title. She finished .08 seconds before ISU’s Cailie Logue (20:45.0), who was just short of winning four-straight individual titles. 

Overall, the team finished in third place with a total of 65 team points. Fifth-year senior Sylvia Russell finished the race in a time of 21:32.0, good for 11th place, and redshirt junior Mikaela Lucki placed 14th and finished in 21:38.5. Three out of the 10 Mountaineer runners collected All-Big 12 honors, including McCabe, Russell and Lucki. 

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUXCTF on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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