MOUNT BERRY, Ga. -- The Covenant cross country teams competed in their final event before the USA South Conference Championships on Saturday at the Berry Invitational. The women placed 10th and the men were 11th and the two squads combined for 13 personal records.
The women had seven runners finish with personal best times, while the men had six.
"We had a lot of personal bests today and that's a great way to head into postseason," said head coach Katie Stanford. "I'm proud of everyone today. They have been working really hard and we still have two more important races. We are looking forward to conference in a couple weeks."
The women were led by senior Beth Burgess and her 6k time of 24:24.1 which placed her 35th overall and 32nd for scoring. Ruthie Cargill continued her career-best season with a personal record time of 24:52.7 in the event as she finished 46th overall. Abby Irwin (25:24.5), Grace Bodron (25:57.7) and Jordan Francis (26:17.3) rounded out the top five Covenant finishers and all three set new personal bests.
In a field dominated by Division III powers and two Division I schools, Covenant finished ninth with 277 points, just ahead of Millsaps, Maryville and Piedmont. Florida A&M took home the team title, while Georgia, Emory, Berry and Roanoke completed the top five.
Eliot Kaufmann paced the men's side with his 8k personal record of 27:11.2 which had him in 17th place for scoring and 22nd overall. John Weaks excelled on the course as he easily topped his previous best 8k mark with a time of 28:21.2 to finish 61st overall. Stephen Dillon was right on Weaks' heels as he finished one spot behind the freshman at 28:22.3. Jack Williams set a new personal best at 29:34.8 and Eliot Gardner was the fifth Covenant finisher at 31:57.1.
Much like the women's side, the men fared well as a team against top competition. Covenant placed better than USA South opponents Piedmont, Maryville, Methodist and LaGrange. Texas-Tyler took the No. 1 spot followed by Birmingham Southern, Berry, Roanoke and Belhaven.
Covenant will have a week off before competing in the USA South championships on Nov. 1 in Greensboro, N.C. The men are the defending conference champions, while Beth Burgess will look to repeat as the women's individual champion.
35th - Beth Burgess - 24:24.1
46th - Ruthie Cargill - 24:52.7
58th - Abby Irwin - 25:24.5
79th - Grace Bodron - 25:57.7
94th - Jordan Francis - 26:17.3
118th - Margaret Fitch - 27:18.3
120th - Alicia Zanoni - 27:22.3
134th - Julia Price - 28:22.3
154th - Sarah Jo Griffith - 29:32.9
22nd - Eliot Kaufmann - 27:11.2
61st - John Weaks - 28:21.2
62nd - Stephen Dillon - 28:22.3
104th - Jack Williams - 29:34.8
149th - Eliot Gardner - 31:57.1
150th - Charles Taylor - 32:16.7
160th - Zach Atchison - 33:03.2
161st - Caleb McKillop - 33:20.4