ROME, Ga. -- 10 Covenant cross country runners set personal records and two runners earned All-Region honors as the teams wrapped up their seasons at the NCAA South/Southeast Region meets on Saturday morning at Berry College. Five runners from the both the men's and women's teams set personal bests on the chilly Saturday morning.
The men placed 14th out of 28 teams, while the women were 18th of 29.
Eliot Kaufmann and Graham Massot capped their outstanding seasons with 34th and 35th place finishes, respectively, to earn a spot on the All-Region team. The honors are the first for Covenant in the Division III era of the program.
Kaufmann set a personal record with his 8k time of 26:40, more than 30 second faster than his previous mark. Massot also produced a career-best in the 8k when he finished the course in 26:44. Coming in 66th overall was freshman John Weaks with a personal best time of 27:29.
Stephen Dillon was Covenant's fourth finisher with a time of 27:48, good for 81st overall. Rounding out the top five Scots was Phil Moore and his time of 30:18. Eliot Gardner (30:40) and Jack Williams (31:20) completed the seven Covenant runners competing. The times for Moore and Gardner were personal records.
"I am so happy for our men today," head coach Katie Stanford said. "They wanted to improve within our region and they did just that. Our top four ran so well today and it was exciting to have Eliot [Kaufmann] and Graham [Massot] receive All-Region honors."
Covenant placed 14th with 374 total points. Emory took the team title, while Bridgewater took second. Both of those teams will advance to the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The women also had five runners set personal records led by Ruthie Cargill. Cargill completed the 6k course in a time of 24:48, besting her previous mark by four seconds which was set earlier this year at the same course. Cargill placed 79th overall.
Abby Irwin also posted a personal record with her time of 25:16 which placed her 98th overall. Grace Bodron placed 122nd with her personal record time of 25:46, while Jordan Francis (26:10) and Alicia Zanoni (26:11) finished nearly together with each setting new career-bests. Julia Price (27:16) and Margaret Fitch (28:10) rounded out the Covenant runners.
Covenant was without its top runner and senior Beth Burgess. Burgess suffered a foot injury at the USA South championships two weeks ago and, although she tried everything she could to run, she was unable to compete.
"It was tough being without Beth because we know that would have made a difference in our team finish," Stanford said. "But five of our runners set personal bests and one of those was by over a minute so today was a good day."
Covenant was 18th with 565 points. The team also placed 18th last year, but this year's field included five more teams than in 2013. Emory took the team title and Centre took second on a tiebreaker with Christopher Newport.
The meets were the final ones for seniors Dillon, Williams and Burgess. Each of the three has had a major impact on the growth of both programs.
"It was sad to see Stephen and Jack run their last race as Covenant Scots. They have done so well year after year and are a huge part of why this program has grown," Stanford said of Dillon and Williams. "Beth has had a wonderful career here at Covenant and while we were sad she couldn't race today, she finished the season on a high note at conference."
"Both teams were significantly stronger this year and l am excited to see the program continue to grow next year," Stanford added.
Men's Results: 374 points
34th - Eliot Kaufmann - 26:40
35th - Graham Massot - 26:44
66th - John Weaks - 27:29
81st - Stephen Dillon - 27:48
166th - Phil Moore - 30:18
173rd - Eliot Gardner - 30:40
180th - Jack Williams - 31:20
Women's Results: 565 points
79th - Ruthie Cargill - 24:48
98th - Abby Irwin - 25:16
122nd - Grace Bodron - 25:46
136th - Jordan Francis - 26:10
137th - Alicia Zanoni - 26:11
162nd - Julia Price - 27:16
185th - Margaret Fitch - 28:10