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Fall Recaps: Cross Country

Fall Recaps: Cross Country

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LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant cross country teams experienced another successful season in 2015 under fifth-year head coach Katie Stanford. Top performances on both the men's and women's sides highlighted the year and the programs continued to be a force within the USA South.


Although the Scots were unable to defend their back-to-back USA South championships, the team still put together an impressive season. Faced with the loss of all five top runners from a year ago, newcomers and veterans stepped up to lead the program.

One of those newcomers was freshman Micah Sneller. The Lancaster, Pa., native excelled in his first year as he captured the USA South Individual title and was named the conference's Rookie of the Year. Sneller had three top-five finishes and was a two-time USA South Rookie Runner of the Week award recipient. 

Sneller paced the Scots for much of the year, while fellow freshmen Reed Vaughn, Nathan Bierema and Josh Humpherys all had produced during the year. Senior Hunter Rasmussen and junior Phil Moore added experience to the top seven for the Scots.

In the USA South meet, Covenant was narrowly defeated by Piedmont. Even with the second-place finish, Covenant had five runners earn All-USA South honors with their efforts. Sneller earned first team honors, while Vaughn, Bierema, Moore and Rasmussen all took spots on the second team. 

The men took two victories on the year. The first came at the Mountaintop Invitational as the Scots defended their home course for a fourth straight year by knocking off Maryville. Covenant then took the Maryville Invitational on Oct. 3.


USA South Rookie of the Year
Micah Sneller

USA South Individual Champion
Micah Sneller 

USA South All-Conference
Micah Sneller - first team
Reed Vaughn - second team
Nathan Bierema - second team
Phil Moore - second team
Hunter Rasmussen - second team

USA South All-Sportsmanship
Zach Atchison

USA South Rookie Runner of the Week
Micah Sneller - Sept. 21, Oct. 19 


On the women's side, seniors Ruthie Cargill and Spookie Eaves led the team during the year as the Scots finished second in the USA South for a third straight year.

Cargill and Eaves capped their careers with tremendous seasons as both earned first team All-USA South honors. Cargill, from Lancaster, Pa., had three top-five finishes and earned her first collegiate victory at the Maryville Invitational on Oct. 3. Cargill placed third at the USA South Championships and wrapped up her cross country career with a 47th place finish at the NCAA regional meet, the second-best finish for a Covenant runner at regionals in the NCAA era. Eaves also was impressive as she had a pair of top 10 finishes and was named USA South Runner of the Week on Sept. 14.

Freshmen Lilly Smith and Stephanie Lutz enjoyed success in their first year of college cross country. Both runners earned second team All-USA South honors after finishing eighth (Smith) and 17th (Lutz) at the conference meet. Freshman Hannah Samuels also showed promise in the first half of the year with two top 15 finishes.

Seniors Melanie White and Esther Anderson also concluded their careers. Anderson finished 24th at the Maryville Invitational and White set a personal record in the 6k at the Berry Invitational. Sophomore Margaret Fitch compiled two top 15 finishes on the year.

Stanford's efforts in putting together another contending team were rewarded as she was named USA South Coach of the Year. It was Stanford's second coach of the year honor in as many years after she was selected as the men's recipient in 2014.

Covenant couldn't quite overcome Meredith in the USA South Championships as the Avenging Angels bested the Scots. At the NCAA regional meet, Covenant finished 18th led by Cargill's finish and time of 24:13.


USA South Coach of the Year
Katie Stanford 

USA South All-Conference
Ruthie Cargill - first team
Spookie Eaves - first team
Lilly Smith - second team
Stephanie Lutz - honorable mention

USA South All-Sportsmanship
Ruthie Cargill 

USA South Runner of the Week
Spookie Eaves - Sept. 14


Check out some of the highlights from the 2015 Mountaintop Invitational


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