Smith Caps Career at North Central Dr. Keeler Invitational

Lilly Smith in the 5,000 meter at the Dr. Keeler Invitational
Lilly Smith competes in the 5,000 meter at the Dr. Keeler Invitational on Thursday, May 9, 2019 (contributed photo)

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Covenant women's track and field senior Lilly Smith capped her illustrious career by placing 24th overall in the 5,000 meter at the North Central College Dr. Keeler Invitational on Thursday night.

Smith finished in 24th place overall with a time of 18:19.48, the second-fastest 5,000 meter time in program history. Hanna Groeber of Division II Grand Valley State took the overall title. The event featured 54 athletes as the outdoor season winds down and teams and individuals vie for spots in the NCAA Championships.

"Lilly was very sick during the conference meet [in April] and still managed to win the 1500 and finish in the 5,000. She has been on the mend since and we didn't want to end her collegiate career in the 5,000 meter with that race at conference," head coach Katie Stanford said. "Today was not a personal record, but it was her second fastest time of the season and a much better finish than conference."

Smith placed eighth in her section of the event. Her time of 18:19.48 was the second-best mark in program history, a record that Smith owns and set earlier this year at the Rhodes Invitational.

The event marked the end of Smith's career as a Scot. Smith leaves the program as its most decorated runner, both in track and field and in cross country. She was a two-time USA South Runner of the Year in cross country, the conference champion in the 1500 meter this year, a three-time All-USA South runner in cross country, and an 11-time USA South athlete of the week. In the fall, Smith became the first Covenant runner to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships and earn All-Region honors.

"It has been a privilege to coach her and her work ethic and determination is the best I've ever seen," added Stanford. "I'm sure she has much more racing in her future."

Smith leaves Covenant as the track and field record holder in the 1500 and 5,000 meter events, while helping relay teams to program bests in the 4x400, 4x800, and distance medley relay. In cross country, Smith owns the top seven 6k times and the top two two-mile marks in program history.

Smith graduated from Covenant last week with a degree in biology and was a three-time USA South All-Academic honoree, earning the honor once again this year.

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