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VIDEO PREVIEW: Track & Field Takes High Expectations into 2019

Matt Seitz (left) and Hannah Samuels (right)
Matt Seitz (left) and Hannah Samuels (right)
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LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- More depth, more events, and an opportunity for a conference championship are the highlights of the Covenant track and field programs as it enters its third year of competition.

Head coach Katie Stanford's squads are set to begin the indoor season on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Tiger Indoor Invitational, hosted by Sewanee. The meet is one of two for the indoor season before outdoor starts in March. Covenant's second scheduled indoor meet is Feb. 11 at the 'Southern Indoor Challenge in Birmingham, Ala.

In all, the Scots will compete in two indoor meets and five regular season outdoor meets before the USA South Championships in mid-April.

KEY ATHLETES

In year three of the program, Covenant features the largest roster it has ever had. A total of 44 athletes (26 men, 18 women) between the men's and women's teams are set to compete this season. The number allows for greater depth, along with athletes taking part in a wider variety of events within meets. 

The women's team is led by senior Lilly Smith. Coming off a cross country season that saw her win Runner of the Year in the USA South and qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships, Smith is primed for more success on the track. The senior had a strong junior season last year and set multiple program records in the process. Fellow senior Hannah Samuels also returns after a strong seasons on the track last spring and on the cross country trails in the fall. Junior Michelann Settle is in a similar boat as the Scots look to be strong in both distance and middle distance events. Sophomore Virginia Kay Roberts is the top returning sprinter.

Juniors Anna Danek, Caroline Pepper, and Hannah Ball along with sophomores Ashleigh Baker, Sydney Fitch, and Rachel Cotta add depth and experience for the women's team.

Newcomers on the women's side bring strengths to different events. Junior Natasha Bennett and senior Ellen Ortlip are set for throwing events, with Ortlip also competing in sprints, while sophomore Anna Walter joins the team for sprint events. 

The men's team sees an even greater variety of events. The distance and middle distance events look to be the strong suit for the Scots as senior Matthew Tueller, along with sophomores Matt Seitz, Micaiah Allison, Matthew Broussard, Leif Le Mahieu, and Jonathan George highlight the group returning from last year.

Sophomore Michael Rawlings was the top javelin thrower at the Atlantic Independent Championships last year.  In the sprint events, junior William Bryan will rejoin the squad for the outdoor season after he set multiple program records last year in the 200 and 400 meter races. Sophomore William Wallace was key in top relay teams a season ago, while junior Stefon Bright is the top 100 meter dash runner returning this season.

Freshmen Caleb Masters and Karl Ferda are slated for jumping events. Fellow freshman Cooper Hayes looks to become the first Covenant athlete to compete in pole vault, and the same is true for Elijah Manuel in the hurdle events.

CONFERENCE MEET AND OTHER DATES

For the first time since 1987, the USA South is sponsoring track and field as a championship sport and gives the Scots a shot at a recognized conference title for the first time in the program's three-year history. The USA South meet is slated for April 18-19 in Berea, Ky., hosted by Berea College.

Competing against conference opponents in last year's Atlantic Independent Championships, the Scots fared well in both meets leading to optimism, and excitement, surrounding the USA South meet this season. 

Leading up to the conference championships, Covenant will compete in five outdoor meets. The Scots begin the outdoor season at the Victor Icebreaker Duals on March 2 before competing in the Rhodes Invitational (March 15-16), Emory Invitational (March 22-23), and Hilltop Classic (March 30) in the month of March. The week before the USA South meet, the Scots will compete in the Berry Field Day Invitational (April 12-13).

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS

Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here