Senior track standout moving 700 miles from home to compete at D1 level
She’s a Wildcat now, but it won’t be long before Madelyn McCabe is a Lion.
The Cashion High School senior essentially ended her recruitment when she committed last month to Southeastern Louisiana University.
“Feeling very blessed to be able to continue my track and field career at the D1 level! I can’t wait to turn in my maroon and gold for green and gold next year!” McCabe wrote on Twitter on Oct. 24.
She will sign her National Letter of Intent on Nov. 21 during a ceremony at Cashion High School.
The multi-time state champion in track and fi eld was just two days removed from an official visit to the school in Hammond, La.
“I chose SLU because I fell in love with the team, coaches and the school,” McCabe told the Times & Free Press.
The commitment came after a whirlwind recruitment tour and McCabe chose the Lions over multiple other offers.
Just two days before making her official visit to SLU, McCabe took an offi cial visit to Oklahoma State University during that school’s homecoming weekend.
McCabe received an offer for a partial scholarship from OSU.
She also had offers from Pittsburg State in Kansas, West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and was also guaranteed a spot on the University of Iowa’s squad.
She made multiple other visits - official and unofficial - over the past year and a number of other schools showed interest in bringing her to campus.
But McCabe’s relationship with SLU track and field head coach Corey Mistretta and the offer of a full scholarship proved too much to pass up.
Mistretta was at the first track meet of McCabe’s junior season at Cherokee when she won both the high jump and long jump.
He verbally offered her a scholarship on site.
Mistretta later made an in-home visit with the Mc-Cabe family.
The coach-athlete relationship wasn’t lost on McCabe’s mother, Karen.
“They ‘get’ each other,” Karen said of Madelyn and Mistretta.
Added Madelyn: “Since they gave me a full ride, it was a no-brainer.”
Hammond is nearly 700 miles from Cashion, but the distance doesn’t worry McCabe.
“I know that I’ll be fine away from home,” she said. “It’s only one day’s drive away.”
Her parents support the decision despite the number of miles that will separate them.
“We have always told her to go where she is most appreciated,” Karen said. “That’s the only way to be truly happy in situations like this. If you’re deeply valued and wanted, you will gladly work harder and longer towards your goals.”
McCabe is a two-time Class 2A state champ in the high jump and a two-time runner-up in the long jump.
She’s medaled four times in each of the last two state track and field meets, including during Cashion’s run to the 2018 team state championship.
After that season, Mc-Cabe broadened her horizons and competed in the seven-event heptathlon during the summer circuit. At a regional event for the U.S. Amateur Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships, McCabe won all seven events and qualified for the national event.
At 16, McCabe finished 13th in her fi rst national event despite competing in the 17-18 year-old division.
Last summer, McCabe was the runner-up at the 44th annual Great Southwest Track and Field Classic. She won two of the seven events and scored a career-high 4,617 points.
McCabe is still a relative newcomer to the heptathlon. Her early success, proven abilities and potential led more than one college suitor to mention to her the possibility of competing in the Olympics.
“To be honest, I hadn’t thought of it that much, but the 2024 Olympics have been mentioned to me several times,” McCabe said.
Mistretta was one of those coaches.
That piqued McCabe’s interest.
“That will be my senior year of college, so that will be the perfect time for me to be peaking and at my best,” she said.