LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- With its largest team since seventh-year head coach Katie Stanford took over, the Covenant cross country programs look for another strong season in 2017. In all, 28 runners (15 on the men's side and 13 for the women) will compete as the Scots open up the season on Friday at the Georgia DIII Invitational, hosted by Berry College.
The men are led by junior Micah Sneller, an All-USA South performer last season, while All-Conference runners Caleb Keitt and Matthew Tueller also return. Zach Atchison is the lone senior on the team and junior Reed Vaughn rejoins the squad after not running cross country during his sophomore year. The recruiting class was a big one for Stanford as she brought in 10 freshmen that all hope to have an immediate impact on the team.
For the women, four All-USA South runners from last year return as does last year's top runner in junior Lilly Smith. Junior Hannah Samuels along with senior Margaret Fitch and sophomores Anna Danek and Caroline Pepper make up the rest of a strong group of returners. The women have five freshmen on the team, and eight newcomers overall.
After Friday's event, which will feature other Division III teams from Georgia, Covenant will compete in four other regular season events. The highlight of the regular season will be a trip to Orlando and the Disney Cross Country Classic on Oct. 7. Covenant will also compete in the Falcon Classic (Sept. 16), hosted by Division II member Montevallo, along with the Maryville Invitational (Sept. 30) and the Berry Invitational (Oct. 14).
The USA South Championships are set for Oct. 28 in Tallulah Falls, Ga., while the NCAA South/Southeast Region meet is set for Nov. 11 in Newport News, Va., hosted by Christopher Newport.
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