LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The 2019 edition of the Covenant men's and women's track and field programs brought continued growth for head coach Katie Stanford's squads.
With the USA South sponsoring outdoor track and field for the first time in over 30 years, both Covenant programs were able to compete for a conference championship and individual honors for the first time in the three-year history of the program. On top of that, records continued to be broken while senior athletes culminated their careers with impressive displays.
The women's team placed fourth at the USA South Championships, while senior Lilly Smith capped her remarkable career to highlight the women's track and field season.
Covenant athletes competed in 13 different events during the outdoor season and set program records in 11 of those. Smith had a hand in five of those, including individual program records in the 1500 and 5,000 meter events. Smith, who was a two-time USA South Track Athlete of the Week, smashed her own 5,000 meter time with a mark of 17:52.21 at the Rhodes Invitational. The senior won the 1500 meter event at the USA South Championships and also helped the 4x400, 4x800, and DMR squads to program records during the season.
S.K. Lipperd was the 800 meter champion at the USA South Championships and set the program record in the event earlier in the season with a time of 2:20.51 at the Berry Field Day Invitational. Lipperd earned USA South Rookie Track Athlete of the Week honors on March 11 and set program records in the 400 and 800 meter events, while also assisting in 4x400, 4x800, and DMR program best marks.
Michelann Settle was an All-USA South athlete in the 5,000 meter and set the program record in the mile, and was also Covenant's representative on the USA South All-Sportsmanship team. Hannah Samuels also earned All-USA South in the 10,000 meter where she had earlier set a program record. Freshman Natasha Bennett established program records in the javelin and shot put during the year.
Similar to the women's team, the men also produced four All-USA South performers and set numerous program records. The Scots posted 14 outdoor program records during the season, with four of those coming at the USA South Championships.
At the USA South Championships, Michael Rawlings earned All-USA South in javelin, Micaiah Allison in the 3,000 meter steeple, Cooper Hayes in the pole vault (that included a program record mark), and Matt Seitz in the 10,000 meter. Rawlings continued to extend his program record in the javelin during the year and set the mark at 44.68 meters in the Berry Field Day Invitational. Allison also set a program record in the 3,000 meter steeple earlier in the year at 9:59.09 at the Rhodes Invitational, while Seitz set the record in the 10,000 meter with a time of 33:32.34 at the Rhodes Invitational.
Senior Matthew Tueller finished off his career with a program record time in the 5,000 meter at the USA South Championships with a time of 15:46.66.
The Scots had strong runners in 800 meter events all year long. The top five marks in program history all came during 2019 and are held by three different runners. Brendan Yeager's mark of 1:58.83 at the Emory Invitational stands as the current record holder, but Jonathan George came close to beating that with his 1:58.91 at the Berry Field Day Invitational.
USA South Track Athlete of the Week
Lilly Smith - March 11, March 25
USA South Rookie Track Athlete of the Week
S.K. Lipperd - March 11
USA South All-Sportsmanship - Women
USA South All-Sportsmanship - Men
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