GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Micah Sneller claimed the USA South's individual title and both Covenant cross country teams placed second at the USA South Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Hagan Stone Park in Greensboro.
Covenant had nine runners earn All-USA South honors, as determined by their finish in the meet. Additionally seven runners (one female and six males) set personal records on the day.
Sneller becomes the second consecutive Covenant men's runner to win the USA South individual title. The freshman from Lancaster, Pa., paced the Scots with his personal record 8k time of 28:08.9 which bested Maryville's Sean Hagstrom, the conference's Runner of the Year, by 13 seconds.
"Micah did awesome," head coach Katie Stanford said. "He stayed with the front pack and then made a move and it worked."
Along with Sneller, Covenant placed five runners inside the top 13 of the event but was denied a third straight conference title by Piedmont. Piedmont put three runners in the top six and accumulated 34 points while Covenant tallied 46.
"Our guys team ran really well but Piedmont was just better," Stanford added. "Six out of the nine ran personal bests and the other three were really close to their best times. I couldn't have asked for anything else."
Reed Vaughn earned second team All-USA South by placing ninth overall with a personal best time of 28:39.8. Fellow freshman Nathan Bierema also set a personal record at 29:02.9 and finished 11th to earn second team honors. Junior Phil Moore (29:05.0) and senior Hunter Rasmussen (29:11.1) finished 12th and 13th, respectively, to earn spots on the second team. Zach Atchison completed the course in 30:46 to set a personal best.
On the women's side, Covenant finished second for a third straight year but had several top performances. Senior Ruthie Cargill finished third and earned first team All-USA South with her 6k time of 24:40.9. Fellow senior Spookie Eaves was seventh with a time of 25:36.5 to also earn a spot on the All-USA South first team.
Covenant fell just short of defending champion Meredith. For a third consecutive year, Meredith was able to hold off the Lady Scots and claim the USA South title.
"The ladies had to have a perfect day today because Meredith always comes out strong at the conference and that's exactly what they did today," Stanford said. "Ruthie had one of the best finishes of her college career today. What a way to finish her conference career."
Freshman Lilly Smith placed eighth overall with her time of 25:43.2 to collect second team honors. Stephanie Lutz finished the course in 26:41.6 for a 17th place finish and honorable mention accolades. Senior Melanie White rounded out the top five Covenant finishers as she placed 26th with a time of 27:29.4.
Women's Results (2nd of 10)
3rd - Ruthie Cargill - 24:40.9 - 1st team All-USA South
7th - Spookie Eaves - 25:36.5 - 1st team All-USA South
8th - Lilly Smith - 25:43.2 - 2nd team All-USA South
17th - Stephanie Lutz - 26:41.6 - honorable mention All-USA South
26th - Melanie White - 27:29.4
27th - Margaret Fitch - 27:34.5
29th - Esther Anderson - 27:38.4
40th - Juliette Henry - 29:05.2
62nd - Amy Romstadt - 33:41.1 - PR
Men's Results (2nd of 6)
1st - Micah Sneller - 28:08.9 - PR - 1st team All-USA South
9th - Reed Vaughn - 28:39.8 - PR - 2nd team All-USA South
11th - Nathan Bierema - 29:02.9 - PR - 2nd team All-USA South
12th - Phil Moore - 29:05.0 - PR - 2nd team All-USA South
13th - Hunter Rasmussen - 29:11.1 - PR - 2nd team All-USA South
18th - Josh Humpherys - 30:00.9
24th - Zach Atchison - 30:46.0 - PR
27th - Eliot Gardner - 30:52.3
32nd - Charles Taylor - 32:05.1
The teams will be off next week before competing in the NCAA South/Southeast Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 14. The meets will be held in Winchester, Va., at Shenandoah University.
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