LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- 2017 marked the beginning of a new era in Covenant athletics as the men's and women's track & field programs began official competition. The teams, under the direction of head coach Katie Stanford, competed in six total meets on the year between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
With rosters full of two-sport athletes, the teams competed well throughout the year. During the outdoor season, the men posted a 10th place finish at the Berry Field Day Invitational and were 13th at the Falcon Classic. The women placed fourth in the Atlantic Independent Championships and were 17th at the Berry Field Day Invitational.
The teams made their debuts at the Tiger Indoor Invitational on Feb. 11 at Sewanee. The women placed seventh overall with 19 points in the event as Lilly Smith and Hannah Samuels finished second and fourth in the 300 meter run, respectively. The distance medley team of Margaret Fitch, Anna Porch, McKinzie Hummel and Smith combined to place third.
In the same meet, the men finished ninth with 20 total points. Micah Sneller was fourth in the 3000 meter, while the DMR team of Caleb Keitt, Tristan Dunlavy, Reed Vaughn and Sneller was third. The 4x400 relay team with Phil Carrenard, John Owen, Wesley Reddecliff and Ryan Seay placed fourth overall.
The teams kicked it into gear in the outdoor season as the teams competed in five meets from March through April. In every meet new personal records and program marks were being set across multiple events.
The season culminated in the inaugural Atlantic Independent Championships on April 20. With other programs from the USA South, along with future members of the conference, Covenant got a chance to compete against familiar foes.
In the meet, the women's team had a strong showing with a fourth place finish and 57 points. Covenant grabbed the top three spots in the 5000 meter run with Samuels, Michelann Settle and Caroline Pepper setting the pace. Gracie Holbrook dominated the 3000 meter steeple to claim first, nearly 33 seconds faster than the next best runner.
The 4x400 relay team of Caroline Cone, Hanna Wilt, Hannah Hennigh and Porch combined for the team's best time of the year at 4:23.40 to claim the top spot. Hennigh also qualified for the finals of the 100 meter dash.
The men's team tallied 50 points and placed fifth overall. In the 100 meter dash preliminaries, Ari Zorns set a then-program record with a time of 11.39 to qualify for the finals along with Kyle Delk. In the finals, Delk bested Zorns' previous program mark with his time of 11.38 to place seventh overall, while Zorns came in eighth at 11.40. Delk produced points for the Scots in the long jump with a third place finish, and in the high jump where he was the runner-up.
Also in the meet, Sneller placed second in the 10,000 meter run and Matthew Tueller recorded a second place finish in the 3000 meter steeple. The 4x100 team of Berto Dryden, Delk, Mason Gregoire and Zorns placed fourth overall with a time of 44.02, just .01 off the quartet's season-best time.
During the year, the teams also competed in the Victor Icebreaker Duals, Emory Invitational (men 33rd; women 35th), Falcon Classic (men 13th; women 19th), and Berry Field Day Invitational (men 10th; women 17th).
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