Smith Breaks Record; Cross Country Teams Reap Awards at USA South Meet

Barbara Hall/contributed
Barbara Hall/contributed

TALLULAH FALLS, Ga. -- The cold, wet weather did not dampen the day for the Covenant cross country teams. Both teams placed second at the USA South Championships on Saturday morning at TFS Farms Course.

In addition to placing second in both meets, Covenant came away with some top awards for the year from the conference. Lilly Smith was voted USA South Runner of the Year on the women's side and head coach Katie Stanford was selected as Coach of the Year for the women. Caleb Aikens was named USA South Rookie of the Year on the men's side as he become the third Covenant runner all-time to earn the award.

Additionally, each team placed five runners on All-USA South teams with their finishes.

Smith had quite the day to lead the Scots to a second place finish. The junior set a program record in the 6k with her time of 22:55.0, a full 49 seconds faster than the old mark, and finished second overall. After the race, Smith was announced as the USA South Runner of the Year, becoming just the second Covenant runner all-time to earn the conference's top honor. Smith's time also placed her on the All-USA South first team.

In all, Covenant had five runners on the women's side earn All-USA South honors, which are determined based on final results of the conference meet. Michelann Settle also claimed first team All-USA South accolades with her personal record time of 23:41.5 that was good for fourth overall. Heather Hall posted a personal best time at 24:48.4 and was an All-USA South third team finisher, while Margaret Fitch joined Hall on the third team after her career best time of 25:13.4.

Hannah Samuels rounded out the top five runners for Covenant as she finished in 25:52.4 and earned All-USA South honorable mention.

Nine runners set personal records on the women's side. Caroline Pepper (26:18.7) and Anna Danek (26:34.0) completed the top seven finishers for the Scots and both set personal bests. Also setting new career marks were Emily Robertson (27:08.2), Sydney Fitch (27:33.3), Ashleigh Baker (28:25.6) and Hannah Ball (28:30.0).

In the men's 8k, it was Matthew Tueller setting a personal record at 27:22.0 to finish seventh overall and lead the Scots to second place. Tueller earned first team All-USA South honors with his finish. Matt Seitz was 10th in the event with his personal best time in the 8k at 27:30.8, while earning All-USA South second team honors in the process.

Aikens, Jonathan George, and Micah Sneller finished consecutively to round out the top five Covenant runners and all three earned All-USA South honorable mention. Aikens came in at 27:58.4 to place 18th, while George finished in 28:19.3 to place 19th. Sneller completed the course in 28:24.9 for 20th overall. Micaiah Allison (28:56.4) and Leif Le Mahieu (29:41.6) completed the top seven finishers, and Le Mahieu's time gave him a new personal best. Zach Atchison was the fourth Covenant runner to set a personal record on the men's side at 30:23.1.

Berea claimed the team title in both races. Methodist's Lindsey Prichard was the individual champion in the women's race, while Logan McKenzie was the men's champion.

Women's Results (top 7 runners):

2nd - Lilly Smith - 22:55.0 - PR (program record) - Runner of the Year; All-USA South first team
4th - Michelann Settle - 23:41.5 - PR - All-USA South first team
20th - Heather Hall - 24:48.4 - PR - All-USA South third team
23rd - Margaret Fitch - 25:13.4 - PR - All-USA South third team
29th - Hannah Samuels - 25:52.4 - All-USA South honorable mention
35th - Caroline Pepper - 26:18.7 - PR
39th - Anna Danek - 26:34.0 - PR

Men's Results (top 7 runners):

7th - Matthew Tueller - 27:22.0 - PR - All-USA South first team
10th - Matt Seitz - 27:30.8 - PR - All-USA South second team
18th - Caleb Aikens - 27:58.4 - Rookie of the year; All-USA South honorable mention
19th - Jonathan George - 28:19.3 - All-USA South honorable mention
20th - Micah Sneller - 28:24.9 - All-USA South honorable mention
28th - Micaiah Allison - 28:56.4
35th - Leif Le Mahieu - 29:41.6 - PR


Covenant will take a week off before competing the NCAA South/Southeast Regional meet, hosted by Christopher Newport, on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Newport News, Va.


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