LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- As a new program that began intercollegiate competition in the spring of 2017, the Covenant track and field teams needed a way to establish itself as a competitor within the region and the USA South.
The senior class of 2020 helped the Scots do just that.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic cut short an outdoor season that looked promising, the impact of the five departing athletes will not be lost. Matt Seitz, Michelann Settle, Stefon Bright, Nina Grauley, and Brendan Yeager all brought their unique skills to the program to aid in its growth.
"This group of seniors and last year students will feel the loss of this shortened season the most," head coach Katie Stanford said. "It was their last chance to compete in college and their last chance to post personal best times and marks."
The group consisted of four seniors and one junior in Matt Seitz. Majoring in pre-engineering, Seitz finished his three years at Covenant and will move on to complete his engineering degree. A three-year member of the track and field program, Seitz was an All-USA South performer in the 10,000 meter last year, while also a three-time All-USA South runner in cross country. He holds the top two 10,000 meter times in outdoor program history and ranks within the top-five in three other events.
Seitz, from McDonough, Ga., also showed his talent in distance events in the indoor seasons as he currently ranks second all-time in the 5,000 meter.
"Matt has given us three amazing years in both cross country and track and field and we owe a lot of the success in our program to him," noted Stanford.
Settle and Bright are the first four-year athletes in their respective team's program history.
"Michelann and Stefon were a part of the first-ever freshman track and field class and they will always be a member of the Covenant Track & Field team," Stanford said. "We appreciate their commitment to our program these past four years."
Settle, from Anderson, S.C., earned All-USA South in the 5,000 meter event last year and was Covenant's representative on the USA South All-Sportsmanship team. Another strong distance runner, Settle holds outdoor program records in the mile (5:39.13) and the 3,000 meter steeple (12:37.15). Settle also holds each of the top two indoor records in the 3,000 meter.
A three-time USA South All-Academic honoree, Settle also collected All-USA South honors in cross country twice and was a USTFCCCA All-Academic selection for cross country as a freshman.
Bright, from Woodstock, Ga., crossed over from the men's basketball team to track and field in his freshman year. Despite battling through injuries during his career, Bright was a sprinter and also competed on relay teams. He was part of one of the top-five 4x100 relay times in outdoor program history as a junior in 2019.
He was also a two-time USA South All-Academic honoree.
Grauley and Yeager both joined the program towards the end of their careers at Covenant, but both contributed.
Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Grauley joined the squad for the first time as a senior this season. Her progress through the shortened season was impressive as she improved with each meet.
Yeager, from Ballwin, Mo., competed with the team for the last two years and quickly became one of the top athletes for the Scots. He holds three of the top-five times in the outdoor 800 meter, including the top mark at 1:58.83, and three more top times in the 1,500 meter. He also excelled in relay events, as he was a part of the outdoor program records in the 4x400 and 4x800 last year.
In indoor meets, Yeager holds the program record in the 800 meter (2:00.47) and was part of the record-setting distance medley relay team last season.
Yeager became an All-USA South runner in cross country during the fall 2019 season and placed 35th overall at the NCAA regional meet to earn All-Region honors.
"Brendan and Nina joined our team towards the end of their time in college and immediately contributed in several ways," noted Stanford. "I know if the season had continued Brendan would have been holding more school records."
The class of five came from different paths, but each aided in the program's growth and culture.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS
Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive e-newsletters, click here