LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant cross country teams will continue their seasons on Saturday morning at the Saucony Invitational in Helen, Georgia, hosted by Truett-McConnell. The men's race will begin at 8 a.m., with the women going at 8:45 a.m. This will be the first time the teams have raced on the course.
The meet will be the third in as many weeks for both teams. Last week, the men finished fifth at the Sewanee Invitational, while the women placed third.
The men were led by top 15 finishes from freshman Eliot Kaufmann (12th) and sophomore Graham Massot (14th). Kaufmann finished the 8k in a time of 27:26 which led to him being named USA South Runner and Rookie of the Week on Monday. It was the second straight week that Kaufmann earned Rookie Runner of the Week honors.
"After coming off a great race last weekend we are looking to close the gap with our top five and have a tighter spread," said head coach Katie Stanford about her men's team. "This is a new course for us so don't really know what to expect terrain wise."
As a team, Covenant has finished better than all other USA South opponents it has competed with so far this season. On Saturday, the men will get a look at Piedmont for the first time this year.
"We are seeing Piedmont for the first time so we will be able to see how we match up with them," noted Stanford.
On the women's side, Beth Burgess has had an impressive start to the season. The senior has won both races and set a new personal and school record of 23:44 in the 6k last week at the Sewanee Invitational. Burgess has been named USA South Runner of the Week in back-to-back weeks.
Junior Ruthie Cargill has also had a great start to the year. Cargill finished seventh last week and set a personal best in the 6k as she looks to be Covenant's number two runner this season.
Covenant placed third out of six at Sewanee last Saturday and beat out a tough region team in Washington & Lee and came within a few points of Birmingham Southern and host Sewanee.
"The girls ran great last weekend and will have a chance at their first 5k this weekend," said Stanford. "They are looking forward to the 5k and will continue our team goal of staying close together in the race. The middle pack will try to move closer to Beth and Ruthie this weekend."
After this weekend, both teams will have a week off from competition before racing in the University of North Georgia Invitational on Sept. 27.