The Covenant men's and women's cross country teams, under head coach Katie Stanford, were both picked to finish in the top four of their respective USA South preseason coaches' polls, announced the league on Wednesday afternoon.
The men were selected in a two-way tie for third place, out of eight teams, with Methodist after receiving 35 total points. Maryville picked up four of the eight first place votes to reign as the preseason favorite. Piedmont was second followed by Covenant, Methodist and Averett to round out the top five.
The women were part of a close-knit group of teams ranked two through four. The Lady Scots received one first-place vote and 60 total points, just two behind third place Maryville and five behind second place Mary Baldwin.
Meredith was predicted to come out as the conference champion on the women's side as they took eight of the 10 first place votes.
Covenant is in its first year of membership in the USA South Athletic Conference and as active members of NCAA Division III.
"The last three years we have been able to participate at a conference championships but not score as a team," said Stanford. "Now that we will be able to officially win, that is what our girls have their eyes set on. Our guys were unable to run at a conference meet last fall so they are looking forward to the competition and are hoping to compete for a top team spot as well."
Both teams will open their seasons on August 30 when they host the Mountaintop Classic. The women's race begins at 6 p.m. with the men following at 6:30 p.m.