LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- For the first time in program history, the Covenant track and field programs will compete for a conference championship as the USA South Championships get underway this week in Berea, Ky.
The meet begins on Thursday at 12 p.m. and will conclude on Friday.
In year three of the Covenant track and field programs, the Scots will get their first crack at a conference title. The USA South Championship meet will be the first for the league since 1986.
"We are looking forward to being a part of the USA South conference track and field championships and it's exciting to see how much stronger this conference has gotten in each event in the last couple of years," head coach Katie Stanford said. "Competing against other top athletes is also going to push us to get even better."
Covenant athletes have toppled numerous program records throughout the outdoor season. On the women's side, 11 program records have been set during the season while the men have attained 12 during the year.
"I've been very pleased with this season and the amount of school records and personal records we have been able to post," Stanford said. "We are confident we are ready to compete and get the job done."
Covenant will face stiff competition throughout the event, but the Scots boast some of the top performances and athletes in the league this season.
S.K. Lipperd and Lilly Smith have been two of the top performers not only for the Scots, but also in the entire league this season. Both Lipperd and Smith own the top two times in the USA South in the 800 and 1500 meter events this season, with Smith also holding the fastest 5,000 meter time.
The men are in a similar spot as William Bryan has the third-best time in the 400 meter, while Brendan Yeager and Jonathan George rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 800 event. George set the program record in the 1500 earlier this season and has the fifth-fastest time in that event in the conference.
Michael Rawlings has continued to add to his program record in the javelin and broke his own mark at 44.68 meters in last weekend's Berry Field Day Invitational. Rawlings' mark is second in the conference entering this week.
The meet also offers the final chance for Covenant seniors to shine in a sport that was not officially a program when they first became a Scot. Matthew Tueller, Hannah Samuels, and Smith are all set for their shot at a conference championship. The trio has helped shape the track and field program and produced some of the top results in program history along the way.
"I just want them to finish the season and their college careers with their best performances and no regrets," Stanford added. "They have been a huge part of growing this program, and this meet is for them to not only compete, but to have fun and help lead their team one last time."
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