MOUNT BERRY, Ga. -- Senior Lilly Smith finished ninth overall and earned a spot in the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the process, as the Covenant cross country teams both placed ninth at the NCAA South/Southeast Region meet on Saturday at Berry College.
Smith was ninth overall in the women's meet and earned the final automatic qualifying spot for individual runners. The senior finished the 6k in a time of 22:57.66, two seconds off her program-record pace, and was just two seconds ahead of Washington & Lee's Samantha Yates for the seventh, and final, individual berth to the national championship meet. She will be the first Covenant runner to compete in an NCAA National Championship.
The top two teams, Emory and Centre, get an automatic berth to the NCAA national meet while the top seven runners not on the qualifying teams earn a spot in the championship run. The NCAA Championships are set for Saturday, Nov. 17 at Winneconne, Wis., and hosted by UW-Oshkosh.
Smith's time and finish also placed her on the All-Region team. She is the first Covenant female runner to earn all-region honors in the NCAA era.
The women placed four other runners in the top 100 to finish ninth overall, a program record finish. Hannah Samuels came in 54th with a time of 24:44.73, while Michelann Settle was 61st at 24:53.64. Maggie Henry came in 72nd at 25:09.99 and Alexandra May was 98th at 25:32.22. Anna Danek (26:18.51) and Ashleigh Baker (27:32.93) rounded out the top seven Covenant finishers.
The Scots tallied 280 points and were the top USA South team in the field. Emory took home the team title, while Centre finished second.
The men's team also set a program record with its ninth place finish. The Scots had 285 points, while Rhodes was the team champion and Emory garnered the second automatic bid to the national championships with its second place finish.
Caleb Aikens led the men with his 48th place finish and 8k time of 27:19.49. Jonathan George was the second Covenant finisher as he placed 50th overall with a time of 27:28.62. Nate Collins came in at 54th and 27:29.46, while Matthew Tueller was 61st with his mark of 27:37.64. Matt Seitz completed the top five Scots as he completed the course in 27:45.57 to place 73rd overall.
Women's Results (9th - 280 points)
9th - Lilly Smith - 22:57.66
54th - Hannah Samuels - 24:44.73
61st - Michelann Settle - 24:53.64
72nd - Maggie Henry - 25:09.99
98th - Alexandra May - 25:53.22
114th - Anna Danek - 26:18.51
157th - Ashleigh Baker - 27:32.93
Men's Results (9th - 285 points)
48th - Caleb Aikens - 27:19.49
50th - Jonathan George - 27:28.62
54th - Nate Collins - 27:29.46
61st - Matthew Tueller - 27:37.64
73rd - Matt Seitz - 27:45.57
97th - Micaiah Allison - 28:24.60
137th - Leif Le Mahieu - 28:56.11
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