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Smith Dominates as Track & Field Finishes Season

Lilly Smith (Photo credit: Jack Lewis)
Lilly Smith (Photo credit: Jack Lewis)

BEREA, Ky. -- Lilly Smith won two events, had another top five finish, and set two program records to lead the Covenant track and field programs in the season finale at the Atlantic Independent Championships, hosted by Berea.

The women placed fifth in the meet with 47 total points, while the men were sixth with 30 points. Berea won the overall team title on the women's side, while Piedmont was the men's winner. The meet was mostly comprised of USA South institutions, with Gallaudet the lone non-USA South member.

For a second straight meet, Smith was outstanding for the Scots. The junior helped tally 32 of Covenant's points on the women's side during the weekend. On Friday, Smith placed second in the 800 meter with a program record time of 2:24.24. On Saturday, Smith took home two individual wins as she won the 1500 with a program-best time of 4:49.55 before winning the 5000 meter event with a time of 18:37.36.

Both program records by Smith topped her own marks. Smith finishes the year winning the final two 1500 meter events, and each of the final two long distance events she competed in.

"Lilly had an incredible meet," head coach Katie Stanford said. "She was in the lead the entire 1500 and still kicked at the end for the win and a record time. She followed up with a great 5k and made it look easy. She is tough both mentally and physically and those paid off this weekend."

Hannah Hennigh also had strong performances for the women's team. In her final collegiate events, Hennigh set a program record in the 100 meter dash on Friday with her time of 12.93 in the prelims. On Saturday, Hennigh placed 10th overall in the 200 meter with a personal and program record time of 27.68. 

Hennigh and Smith also played a role in the top 4x400 relay event of the year for the women. Virginia Kay Roberts and Abigail Wallace joined Hennigh and Smith to produce a season-best time of 4:27.18 in the relay and finished fourth. The 4x100 team also fared well as Hennigh, Roberts, Gracie Holbrook, and Wallace came in third with a time of 54.23.

Distance events were a strong point for the entire women's team throughout the weekend. Hannah Samuels placed third in the 10,000 meter event on Friday with a personal and program record time of 43:33.96. In the 5000 meter on Saturday, Samuels was sixth at 19:59.59, while Michelann Settle placed fifth in the event that Smith won with her time of 19:34.93.

The men's team had a pair of program records broken during the weekend and one event winner. Michael Rawlings kicked off Friday with an individual title in the javelin throw as he topped the competition with his mark of 42.59 meters, over three meters better than the runner-up. On Saturday, the 4x400 relay team of Tristan Dunlavy, Leif Le Mahieu, William Wallace, and William Bryan set a program record with their time of 3:29.68 and a fourth place finish.

Ari Zorns qualified for the finals of the 100 meter dash after he set a program record in the event with a time of 11.12 in Friday's prelims. Zorns would then finish sixth in the finals with a time of 11.24.

Bryan had fast times in the 200 and 400 meter runs. The sophomore placed third in the 200 with a time of 22.58, and finished fourth in the 400 at 50.90. In the 1500, Covenant had three top 10 finishers led by Matthew Broussard's personal best time of 4:21.89 which placed him fifth. Caleb Aikens (4:25.15) and Le Mahieu (4:26.90) were eighth and 10th, respectively in the event.

In the 5000 meter, the Scots also put three into the top 10 as Aikens finished sixth at 16:17.32 before Matt Seitz came in ninth at 16:28.27. In Friday's 800 meter run, Le Mahieu placed seventh with a time of 2:03.42, just off his program-best mark, while Micaiah Allison set a personal record time of 2:07.71. On Saturday, Allison would finish fifth in the 3000 meter steeplechase at 10:31.23.

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