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June 12, 2019 - 00:00
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Cashion senior Madelyn McCabe’s career continues upward trajectory after showing at Great Southwest

  • Article Image Alt Text
    Despite a near season-long injury, Cashion's Madelyn McCabe was able to win four medals at the Class 2A state track and field meet for a second straight year. She followed that up by finishing runner-up in the heptathlon at last week's Great Southwest Track and Field Classic, a regional meet held in Albuquerque, NM. [Photos provided by Brad Stone]
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Madelyn McCabe - [Photos provided by Brad Stone]
  • Article Image Alt Text
    CASHION’S Madelyn McCabe competes in the high jump at a meet earlier this season. McCabe won the 2A state championship in the event for the second straight year this spring. [Photo provided by Brad Stone]

Not since the first track meet of her junior season did Madelyn McCabe feel as good as she did last week.

Her results proved it.

McCabe cemented herself as not just one of the best athletes in Oklahoma, but the entire region when she finished runner-up in the heptathlon at the 44th annual Great Southwest Track and Field Classic.

The rising senior at Cashion High School won two of seven events and scored a career-best 4,617 points in the meet, which was contested last Thursday and Friday at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Her performance had presumably landed her in this week’s New Balance Nationals Outdoor in North Carolina, but the heptathlon already had its maximum number of competitors prior to the Great Southwest.

That despite the Great Southwest being a qualifying meet for the national event.

“It’s frustrating, but at least she ended her junior season on a ridiculously high note and that’s OK with us,” said her mother, Karen McCabe.

McCabe’s high school season was spectacular, but not totally fulfilling.

She medaled in four events for the second straight year, including repeating as the Class 2A high jump champion and long jump runner-up.

McCabe played a huge role in Cashion placing third in the team standings. That came one year after her breakout sophomore season in which she helped Cashion win the 2A team title.

Still, she left the track at Western Heights High School last month feeling she could have done more.

“It was really frustrating,” she admits.

That’s because much of her season was hampered by a nagging injury.

Her year started great March 15 at the Steve Hickman Invitational in Cherokee.

Coming off last season’s showing at state and then a summer that saw her compete in the heptathlon for the first time and qualify for the United States Amateur Track and Field Junior Olympic Championships, McCabe was a known commodity.

She backed it up by winning the high jump by clearing 5-foot-6, the same height that won her a gold medal at state during her sophomore year. She also took gold in the long jump with a leap of 17-7 3/4, three more inches than she jumped at state.

“I was really excited,” she said. “My marks were great and I felt great at that first meet.”

But it didn’t last long.

McCabe began feeling discomfort in her right leg, the one she uses to jump.

“It felt like a stabbing pain on my bone,” she said. “It would start out feeling fine during a meet, but would get progressively worse through the day.

“But I didn’t tell anyone.”

McCabe tried to battle through it, but her performance at Chisholm changed that.

Although she won both jumping events, she cleared just 5-2 in the high jump and 16-11 1/2 in the long jump.

“I knew that wasn’t my normal,” she admitted. “So I told my dad and we decided to get everything checked out.”

She got her diagnosis: A stress reaction. Her recipe for treatment was simple: Rest.

Doctor’s orders denied a rematch between eventual state champions in the high jump.

Cashion took part in the Kingfisher Invitational on April 19, but McCabe was absent. Kingfisher’s Ally Stephenson won the event by setting a school record at 5-6.

McCabe out-dueled Stephenson (5-4 to 5-2) at the Watonga meet in late March. Both went on to win state in their respective classes.

However, with the Class 2A regional just a week away, McCabe had more important goals to chase.

“That was when I realized I had to take a week off and prepare for regional,” McCabe said. “So I took that meet off, but it was difficult for me.”

It proved a fruitful rest as McCabe helped Cashion win a regional title and then won a gold, two silvers and a bronze at state.

McCabe ran well in her two relays, but only jumped 17-0 in the long jump.

Her winning jump was 5-6 in the high jump.

“Whenever I jumped 5-4, I started to feel it,” she said of her leg. “I scratched once at 5-6, but got myself together and cleared it. And then I came super close to 5-8.”

That would have been a personal record, but Mc-Cabe had to “settle” for repeating as champ.

Regardless of her haul, McCabe still wasn’t 100 percent.

“By the time state came around, it was really bothersome,” McCabe admitted.

That’s kept her training to a minimum the past month, despite the heptathlon having multiple events she’s basically still learning.

It didn’t keep her from setting PRs in all four of Thursday’s events.

She was 10th in the 100 hurdles (16.24 seconds), second in the high jump (5-7), first in the shot put (37-4) and ninth in the 200


McCabe came back Friday to win the long jump (18-1) and finish eighth in the javelin throw (90-0) and 10th in the 800 (2:36.15).

Jordan Lanning of Colorado won the heptathlon with 4,870 points. She’s the only other competitor to win two events.

McCabe’s total dwarfed the 3,973 she scored in winning the USATF Region 9 championship last summer.

“I was so excited about my performance last week,” McCabe said. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without rest.”

Prior to last summer, Mc-Cabe had never competed in the hurdles, 800, shot put or javelin.

Her limited exposure in the events led to her shock in winning the shot put in Albuquerque.

“I definitely surprised myself,” she said. “I had been throwing around 35 (feet) and about a week before the meet, I fixed a few things on my glide.”

That resulted in her throw of more than 37 feet, although she’s not satisfied.

“I have so many more things to fix, so I really want to hit that 40-0 mark,” Mc-Cabe said.

One person who wasn’t surprised by McCabe’s performance was Stephen Evans.

“Madelyn was blessed with great athletic ability and is very driven, but what sets her apart is that she understands the focus and sacrifice necessary to improve her craft - to get to the next level,” said Evans, head coach of the Edmond North High School boys track team and the Central Oklahoma Flyers.

McCabe was a part of the Flyers and worked with Evans last summer.

“With unwavering commitment, she took on the task of training for the seven unique events of the heptathlon, many of which were brand new to her, with the big goal of qualifying for and competing at a national championship just a handful of weeks down the road,” Evans recalled.

“She was on a mission to learn as much as she could in that short time, and cared about the smallest of details.”

Evans said a number of factors lead him to believe McCabe will only continue to improve.

“Based on the success of last summer and what she has managed to accomplish this season, she is not done impressing us all,” he said.

McCabe herself has shown a willingness and desire to improve.

“I feel like I still have so many things to improve in the heptathlon and I can’t wait to see where it takes me,” she said.

It’s already taken her numerous places, not just for competition.

McCabe has been on numerous recruiting visits nationwide and already holds a full-ride offer from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Plenty more visits are in her future, including an official visit to Oklahoma State.

“I’m definitely keeping the door open,” she said of her college choice, noting she wants to compete in the heptathlon and high jump at that level.

Now that nationals aren’t an option, McCabe will set her sights on school softball and the resumption of her training for track.

But those can wait.

“For now, I plan to take at least a month off and do absolutely nothing,” she said.

It is, after all, doctor’s orders.