FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- Cross country runners Eliot Kaufmann and Beth Burgess were named the USA South Runners of the Year and head coach Katie Stanford was selected as the Coach of the Year on the men's side, announced the league on Wednesday morning. Kaufmann also earned Rookie of the Year accolades.
A freshman from New York, N.Y., Kaufmann has led his team throughout the season and becomes the second athlete in USA South men's cross country history to be named both Runner of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. His best performance of the fall came at the Berry College Invitational where he posted a time of 27:11 on the 8k course to finish 22nd out of 185 runners. This time was the best 8k performance in the conference this season. Kaufmann owns four of the top-five best 8k efforts this fall as well as the third-best 5k performance. Finally, Kaufmann was named USA South Runner of the Year four times and Rookie of the Week all six times the honor was given this fall.
"Eliot has been a great addition to the team and has brought a new level of competitiveness to the program," said Stanford. "He has worked hard all season and we are looking forward to seeing what he does in the postseason."
Burgess, a senior from Nicholasville, Ky., was last year's USA South meet champion and has continued her individual success into this fall. Her best performance of the season came at the Sewanee Invitational as she won the 6k event in a time of 23:44 which set a school record and was the conference's top 6k time this fall. Burgess also earned an individual victory in the season's opening meet, the Mountaintop Invitational, by completing the two-mile course in a time of 13:06. Additionally, Burgess received USA South Runner of the Week honors three times this fall.
"I am so happy for Beth. She has been a joy to coach the past four years, improving each season, with this year being her best yet," added Stanford. "She has been a great leader on this team and we are going to miss her next year."
Stanford is currently in her fourth season at the helm of Covenant's men's and women's cross country programs. She collects her first men's coach of the year honor and becomes the first Covenant coach to earn a USA South Coach of the Year accolade. The Scots were selected as the preseason favorites to earn the USA South title and will look to defend their championship from a year ago.
"I couldn't have received this honor without the amazing effort from the men's team this fall," said Stanford. "We have had a lot of fun and coaching them and our women is the best part of the job. I'm excited to see where both teams finish this fall."
For the complete USA South release, click here
Covenant will compete in the USA South Championships on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. The men race at 11 a.m., while women go at noon.