LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The second season of Covenant track and field is set to begin this weekend. The teams will compete in the first of two indoor events for the season at the Tiger Indoor Invitational, hosted by Sewanee, on Saturday.
Head coach Katie Stanford continues to build the program's depth as the Scots come off a strong inaugural season in 2017. Both teams feature larger rosters, aided by a strong recruiting class, and athletes that can compete in more events during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Saturday's meet is one of two on the indoor portion of the season. Covenant will also compete in the 'Southern Indoor Challenge, hosted by Birmingham Southern, on Feb. 12 before getting set for the outdoor season, which begins in March.
Several athletes return for both squads this year. Micah Sneller, Matthew Tueller, and Tristan Dunlavy are three of the experienced returners on the men's side. Sneller had program-bests in the outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 last season and Tueller had strong marks in the 1500, 5,000 and 3,000 meter steeplechase events a season ago. Dunlavy was Covenant's top runner in the 800 and was a member of the 4x400 relay team.
The freshman class for the men produced strong times during the cross country season and looks to build on that for the track and field team. Caleb Aikens was the USA South's Rookie Runner of the Year in cross country and will specialize in distance events on the track. Matt Seitz, Jonathan George, and Micaiah Allison are all freshmen that look to continue their success from cross country onto the track.
It is a similar story on the women's side as an experienced group of returners meets talented freshmen. Hannah Hennigh is the team's top returning sprinter as she holds outdoor program marks in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Juniors Lilly Smith and Hannah Samuels had successful seasons on the cross country course, with Smith earning USA South Runner of the Year honors. Michelann Settle enters her second year on the track after a productive rookie campaign last year and a very strong cross country season in the fall.
Saturday's season-opening event features several Division III members from the region, including Emory, Birmingham Southern, Sewanee and Oglethorpe, as Covenant will get a taste of the competition in the area.
The only other indoor meet scheduled for the teams is Feb. 12 at the 'Southern Indoor Challenge.
The outdoor season kicks off on March 3 at the Victor Icebreaker Duals, hosted by Berry. Covenant will also compete in events at Emory, Birmingham Southern, Berry, and Sewanee during the spring.
The season concludes with the second annual Atlantic Independent Championships on April 27-28 in Berea, Ky. The meet will feature several other USA South members, as the conference does not sponsor track and field.
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