Maryville College raced to an eighth-place finish on Friday morning in the USA South Athletic Conference Championships, as Lea Mulligan came away as an All-Conference performer.
The Scots needed just 22 points to overtake Agnes Scott for seventh on the day in the 15-school race.
Mulligan finished the 6K course ranked 19th out of the 114 runners. The sophomore was named a USA South Third Team All-Conference honoree for her efforts, as she finished the Maryville College course with a 4:17 per mile average.
"She's been the steadiest, most consistent runner that I think we've had all season," Head Coach Tyson Murphy said. "She beat her course record on our home course and her personal record by a little over 10 seconds on a really nasty day. I've loved the way she's practiced the last two weeks – mentally and physically – getting ready to race today."
With heavy rains moving in on Thursday night, Murphy said the personal mark was impressive. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native posted a time of 25:40.8.
Rebecca Starks joined her on the All-Conference listing. The USA South named Starks – a junior – to the All-Sportsmanship team.
The duo helped the Scots to an eighth-place finish overall, as MC placed a trio of runners in the top 50.
For Murphy, it was good to see his squad compete after battling off numerous adversities throughout the 2018 season.
"We have never had a more up and down season in the history of my tenure with the program," the head coach said. "With injuries and illnesses and a lot of things of our control, we've had some athletes sidelined, either today or throughout a lot of the season. Two weeks ago, we didn't finish a scoring five at the Berry race. Our first goal was to see if we could get five girls across the finish line today. With some girls out, some others stepped up. We're really, really excited – about as excited as you can be with an eighth-place finish – considering what we were dealing with adversity-wise. We're happy with that eighth, and we know we could have done a lot better. We talk every race and every practice about controlling what we can control and forgetting what we can't. It's tempting to keep looking back to what we could have done different, but based on our health, we're happy with our finish today."
Berea College took top honors in the USA South meet, as the Mountaineers placed each of their five scoring runners in the top 10. Covenant College placed second with three top-10 finishers, while Piedmont College ranked third as a squad.
Methodist University's Makayla Lawler won the individual race by just three seconds of Covenant's Lilly Smith. Lawler had a time of 23:07.8, while Smith ran a 23:10.5. Berea took the next four spots individually.
Maryville College will look next to the NCAA Regional Championships in Rome, Ga. on Nov. 10. Murphy said he expects at least some individual competitors for the Scots to take to the Berry College course.