Cross Country Set for USA South Championships

photos by Nina Grauley, Barbara Hall
photos by Nina Grauley, Barbara Hall

Related: Championship Meet Info

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant cross country teams enter the 2017 USA South Cross Country Championships on a high note after finishing the regular season with strong showings.

The championships are set for Saturday, Oct. 28 at TFS Farms in Tallulah Falls, Ga. The women's 6k race will begin at 11 a.m. and the men's 8k will follow at noon.

Covenant last raced on Oct. 14 at the Berry Invitational where both teams finished in the top five of their respective events. It was the fourth time this year that both the men's and women's teams have finished within the top five.

Caleb Aikens has been the top runner for the men all year. The freshman is a two-time USA South Rookie Runner of the Week and earned Runner of the Week honors once. Aikens was one of nine Scots to set a personal record at the Berry meet when he finished the 8k in 27:19.3. Matthew Tueller, Matt Seitz, Jonathan George, Micah Sneller, Matthew Broussard, and Micaiah Allison are all coming off personal best runs heading into the conference meet.

The men last won the USA South title in 2014 and have placed second in each of the last two seasons. Piedmont is the defending champion on the men's side, but the Scots have fared better than the Lions in both meets they have competed in this year. Berea features one of the top runners in the league in Logan McKenzie and will be a strong challenger for the title in the Mountaineers' inaugural year in the conference.

On the women's side, Lilly Smith and Michelann Settle have been the top two runners for most of the year. Smith has two of the top five 6k times in the USA South this season, including a 24:07 at the Maryville Invitational on Sept. 30. Settle also has a top five time among conference runners after setting a personal record at 24:32 in the same Maryville event in September.

Hannah Samuels, Margaret Fitch, and Heather Hall have all consistently been top five finishers for the Scots during the year.

The women will look to improve upon last year's fourth place finish at the USA South Championship. The program has finished as high as second three times. Piedmont is the defending conference champion and was the preseason favorite to win the title again, however Covenant has placed better than the Lions both times the teams have competed in the same event this year.

For more information on the championships, click here

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