Track & Field Closes Season with Strong Finishes at Independent Championships

(photo credit: Jack Lewis)
(photo credit: Jack Lewis)

DURHAM, N.C. -- The Covenant track and field teams closed out their inaugural seasons on Thursday in the first-ever Atlantic Independent Championships, hosted by Methodist at Durham County Stadium. The women placed fourth in the event with 57 total points, while the men were fifth with 50 points.

The event featured USA South members Methodist, Meredith and Piedmont, along with future USA South member Pfeiffer. Methodist claimed team titles on both the men's and women's sides in the event.

The women had strong efforts in multiple events. The 5000 meter race saw Covenant take the top three spots, led by a time of 21:01.60 from Hannah Samuels. Michelann Settle placed second at 21:05.64, while Caroline Pepper rounded out the top three with her time of 21:38.19. 

The Scots also got a first place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase as Gracie Holbrook dominated the field with her time of 13:21.70, nearly 33 seconds faster than the next best runner. In the 4x400 relay, Caroline Cone, Hanna Wilt, Hannah Hennigh and Anna Porch combined for the team's best time of the year at 4:23.40 to claim the top spot.

Hennigh also produced career-best times in the 100 meters. She qualified for the finals after running her preliminary in a personal record 13.00. Hennigh would place sixth overall in the finals with a time of 13.08. In the 200, Hennigh finished eighth with a personal-best 27.79. 

Also in the 200, three other Covenant runners set personal bests as Porch finished in 28.69, Cone in 29.18 and Wilt in 29.43. Earlier in the event, Cone placed fourth in the long jump with her mark of 4.66 meters. Porch also set a personal record in the 400 meters with her seventh place finish and time of 1:03.62. In the 800 meters, Lilly Smith set a personal-best at 2:35.76 and placed fifth in the event. 

Covenant had six runners in the 1500 meter and Smith led the charge there with her season-best time of 5:20.62 to finish fourth. Samuels was not far behind at 5:21.46, a career-best, to finish fifth and Settle ran it in 5:28.43 to come in eighth. 

On the men's side, several athletes also had solid performances. Covenant's highest finishes came in the 10,000 meters as Micah Sneller came in second with his time 35:34.03, while Matthew Tueller placed second in the 3000 meter steeplechase at 10:38.87. Kyle Delk finished second in the high jump at 1.85 meters, a personal record, and came in third in the long jump at 6.09 meters.

The 100 meter dash also proved to be successful as the Scots had two runners qualify for the finals in Ari Zorns and Delk, but all four runners in the preliminaries set personal bests. Zorns had a time of 11.39 in the prelims, while Delk came in at 11.42 as both went to the finals. Delk then set the team's season-best time, and personal record, in the finals with his time of 11.38 while Zorns came in at 11.40. Stefon Bright ran the prelims in 11.62 and Berto Dryden finished in 11.71.

In the 200 meters, William Bryan topped his previous best time by finishing in 22.56 for a fourth place finish overall. Zorns ran the distance for the first time and went in 23.55, while Ryan Seay set a personal-best at 23.64 in the event. In the 400 meters, it was Seay's career-best time of 52.51 that paced the Scots. Bright also set a personal record in the 400 at 54.79.

Wesley Reddecliff led Covenant in the 1500 meters with a fifth place finish and his best time at 4:29.74, while Phil Carrenard was seventh at 4:44.71 and Phil Moore eighth in a time of 4:47.57. In the 800 meters, John Owen led the way with a ninth place finish in 2:11.46.

The 4x100 relay team of Dryden, Delk, Mason Gregoire and Zorns finished .01 seconds off their season-best time as they finished in 44.02 for fourth place. In the 4x400, Tristan Dunlavy, Bryan, John Owen and Ryan Seay set the team's season-best time at 3:31.89 and placed fourth in the event.

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