HELEN, Ga. -- The stellar start to the 2014 season for both men's and women's Covenant cross country teams continued on Saturday. The men placed first out of nine teams and the women finished first out of 10 at the Saucony Invitational, hosted by Truett-McConnell.
The team victories are the second in three events for both programs this year. The women had five runners finish in the top 10, while the men had four.
On the women's side, it was Beth Burgess leading the way as she placed third with a 5k time of 20:21. Ruthie Cargill finished fourth with a personal record of 20:57, besting her previous mark by more than two minutes.
"Beth had two fast runners to race with and she hung with them through the second mile," said head coach Katie Stanford. "That was a good experience for her. Ruthie had a lifetime PR and is running way faster than she ever has at Covenant."
Freshman Margaret Fitch also continued to impress as she placed fifth at 21:07. Esther Andersonwas eighth with her time of 21:28 and Abby Irwin rounded out the Covenant finishers in the top 10 by placing 10th with a time of 21:43.
As a team, Covenant garnered 30 points as they beat out Brenau (41) and Auburn-Montgomery (76). Fellow USA South member Piedmont placed fourth.
The men were led by Graham Massot's second place finish as he ran the 8k course in 29:30. Eliot Kaufmann placed fifth with a time of 30:05. Stephen Dillon finished ninth at 30:47, while John Weaks was right on Dillon's heels finishing 10th at 30:48. Jack Williams ran the course in 32:09 and was 21st.
"The guys had a bit of a tougher course with the 8k, but raced extremely well and did what they needed for the win," remarked Stanford. "We got four in the top 10 and Stephen and Jack were healthy this weekend and brought our team back to where they needed to be."
Covenant had 47 points which was 21 better than host Truett-McConnell (68). Piedmont placed fifth with 132 points.
"We are looking forward to taking a break from racing this next week and continuing our training," continued Stanford.
The teams will be off from competition for two weeks before racing in the University of North Georgia Invitational on Sept. 27.
3rd - Beth Burgess - 20:21
4th - Ruthie Cargill - 20:57
5th - Margaret Fitch - 21:07
8th - Esther Anderson - 21:28
10th - Abby Irwin - 21:43
12th - Anna Hankal - 21:48
17th - Jordan Francis - 22:10
40th - Julia Price - 24:08
54th - Sarah Jo Griffith - 25:37
2nd - Graham Massot - 29:30
5th - Eliot Kaufmann - 30:05
9th - Stephen Dillon - 30:47
10th - John Weaks - 30:48
21st - Jack Williams - 32:09
26th - Phil Moore - 32:29
35th - Eliot Gardner - 33:14
40th - Justin Jantomaso - 33:31
50th - Charles Taylor - 35:19
53rd - Zach Atchison - 36:06