GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A number of strong individual performances highlighted the second race of the season for the University of South Carolina Beaufort cross country teams Saturday at the Furman Cross Country Classic.
The Sand Shark women placed fifth among 18 non-NCAA Division I teams, while the men were 10th among 16 small schools.
Junior Melissa Carder led USCB in the 6-kilometer women's race, placing eighth in the small-school division with a time of 23:12. Senior Joyce Miller was 25th in 24:12, followed by freshman Jaime Thomas (28th, 24:18). The Sand Sharks' made big strides in the fourth and fifth positions, with senior Melissa Labelle finishing 58th in 25:57 and junior Meleah Powers 74th in 26:54.
Junior Anthony Vecchio led USCB in the 8-kilometer men's race, finishing 11th in 25:42 -- the third-best time in program history, 20 seconds off his school-record pace. Nic O'Neill broke the school's freshman record, finishing 29th in 26:30, and junior Chase Rhodus was 63rd in 28:02. Freshman Connor Appel was 90th in 33:38 and sophomore Matthew Harper was 127th in 35:09.
USCB coach Larry Kimball was happy with the performance of his top three runners on both sides and even more impressed with the progress shown by the runners at the back end of the lineup.
"Melissa Labelle ran really well in fourth," Kimball said. She has improved leaps and bounds from last year. It just goes to show what a summer of training will do for somebody.
"Connor Appel did a great job for his first-ever 8K race. For someone who has not really run competitively, he is coming along pretty nicely."
Junior Sarah Turrubiate (91st, 28:18) and sophomores Rachelle Toth (108th, 30:48) and Cassie Beato (113rd, 31:06) rounded out the finishers for USCB on the women's side.
The Sand Sharks are back in action next Saturday at the Columbia International University Invitational.