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Fall Recaps: Cross Country

(photo credit: Andrew Mindeman/Sports Information)
(photo credit: Andrew Mindeman/Sports Information)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- It was another impressive season for both Covenant men's and women's cross country programs. Under fourth-year head coach Katie Stanford, the teams continued to excel within the USA South and regionally.


For a second straight year, the men's team captured the USA South team championship while the Scots also had a runner earn the individual title. Additionally, the team placed two runners on the NCAA All-South Region honors for the first time in school history.

The Scots took home three team titles, but none was bigger than the USA South crown. For a second consecutive year, Covenant dominated the conference meet with five runners placing inside the top 10, led by an individual title from sophomore Graham Massot. Covenant's 21 points in the event easily outdid Piedmont's 41 as the Scots claimed back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1994 and 1995 when the school was in the NAIA.

Massot was trailed by freshman Eliot Kaufmann (third), freshman John Weaks (fifth), senior Stephen Dillon (sixth) and senior Jack Williams (10th). Covenant had five runners earn all-conference honors and Stanford was named Coach of the Year.

Massot was one of two top runners for the Scots all season, but it was the freshman Kaufmann who took home some major hardware from the USA South.

Kaufmann was named both the Rookie and Runner of the Year in the USA South, just the second time in conference history that a freshman took both honors in the same year. He was also named the conference's Rookie of the Week six times and Runner of the Week four times.

Both Kaufmann and Massot paced the Scots at the region meet. The two runners finished 34th (Kaufmann) and 35th (Massot) with sub-27 minute times in the 8k to earn a spot on the all-region team. As a team, Covenant finished 14th of 28 in the event.

"I am so happy for our men today," Stanford said after the region meet on Nov. 15. "They wanted to improve within our region and they did just that. Our top four ran so well today and it was exciting to have Eliot [Kaufmann] and Graham [Massot] receive All-Region honors."

Men's Award Winners:

USA South Runner of the Week
Graham Massot – 2 times (Sept. 1, Sept. 15)
Eliot Kaufmann – 4 times (Sept. 8, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 20)

USA South Rookie Runner of the Week
Eliot Kaufmann – 6 times (Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Sept. 15, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 20)

USA South All-Conference
Graham Massot – 1st team
Eliot Kaufmann – 1st team/Runner of the Year/Rookie of the Year
John Weaks – 1st team
Stephen Dillon – 1st team/All-Sportsmanship
Jack Williams – 2nd team

USA South Coach of the Year
Katie Stanford


Led by senior Beth Burgess, the women's cross country team also excelled in 2014. Covenant won two meets and placed second, for a second straight year, at the USA South meet. The team wins came on Aug. 29 (Mountaintop Invitational) and Sept. 13 (Saucony Invitational).

Burgess capped her illustrious career with her best season. The Nicholasville, Kentucky, native earned USA South Runner of the Year honors and was Runner of the Week three times. Burgess broke her school record in the 6k with a time of 23:44 at the Sewanee Invitational in the second week of the season. Burgess had previously set the mark as a junior in 2013.

Burgess was not alone in compiling a career year. Junior Ruthie Cargill posted the best year of her collegiate career in 2014. The junior set multiple personal records throughout the year and earned USA South All-Conference second team honors with her ninth place finish at the conference event.

As a team, Covenant fell just short of a conference title as three points separated the Scots from top finisher Meredith. Covenant placed four runners inside the top 10 and had five make an all-conference team. Burgess and freshman Jordan Francis were first team honorees, while Cargill, freshman Abby Irwin and sophomore Grace Bodron made the second team.

"The women were so close today," Stanford said at the end of the USA South meet. "Losing by three in cross country can be a bit of a heartbreaker but honestly we have gained so much ground on Meredith in the past year it is an amazing finish for our ladies. We have had our ups and downs this season with losing two and having some injuries so what the girls accomplished today was amazing."

At the NCAA South/Southeast Region meet, Covenant was without Burgess who was injured. Even without Burgess, the Scots placed 18th of 29 and had five runners set personal records.

Women's Award Winners:

USA South Runner of the Week
Beth Burgess – 3 times (Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Sept. 15)
Ruthie Cargill – (Sept. 29)

USA South Rookie Runner of the Week
Margaret Fitch – 4 times (Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Sept. 15, Sept. 29)
Abby Irwin – (Oct. 20)

USA South All-Conference
Beth Burgess – 1st team/Runner of the Year
Jordan Francis – 1st team
Ruthie Cargill – 2nd team/All-Sportsmanship
Abby Irwin – 2nd team
Grace Bodron – 2nd team


"This was a great year for men's and women's cross country. Personal bests increased significantly and on the men's side our team gained ground in our region. If Beth Burgess hadn't suffered a season ending injury before the region our women would have moved up as well."

"We will graduate some key contributors with Beth [Burgess], Stephen [Dillon] and Jack [Williams]. We have a solid group returning and we are excited about the depth we have grown in this program and the respect we have brought to Covenant cross country both on and off campus." 


Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information.

Fall Recaps: Cross Country
December 16, 2014 Fall Recaps: Cross Country