The USC Beaufort track and field team began more as an extension of the cross country squad, made up primarily of distance runners who competed for both teams.
That has slowly changed, and the Sand Sharks had more success this past season in the sprints and field events than ever before.
Coach Larry Kimball hopes the recruiting class he is close to finalizing will continue that evolution.
Kimball announced the signing of seven athletes -- four male distance runners and three female track athletes -- and expects a handful of additional signings and a number of walk-ons to boost the size of the team to more than 50 athletes.
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"I am excited about this class, and they certainly have the potential to help take our program to the next level," Kimball said in a release.
Leading the class on the women's side is Ndidi Doe, a recent graduate of Jenkins High School in Savannah. Doe finished third in the triple jump at the Georgia Class 5-A state meet with a jump of 37 feet, 1 inch, and she also runs the 100 meters and competes in the long jump and relay races.
Another Savannah athlete, Groves High School graduate Ty'Chelle Freeman, will boost the Sand Sharks' profile in the field events. Freeman placed sixth in the shot put at the Georgia Class 5-A state meet with a throw of 38 feet, 5 1/2 inches, and Kimball also expects her to excel in the discus and hammer throw for USCB.
Bluffton High School's De'Keidra Drayton also will join the women's team and contribute in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the long jump and relay races.
The four signings on the men's side -- Bluffton High's Anthony Vecchio, Stratford High School's Chase Rhodus, Byrnes High School's Ty Henderson and Rock Island (Ill.) High School's Corey Yaeger -- will add to the Sand Sharks' already strong distance corps.
RIETKOVICH INVITED ABROAD FOR CLINIC
Ty Rietkovich, USCB's athletics director and head softball coach, is in the British West Indies this week serving as a coach at a softball clinic and college exposure event.
More than 150 girls were expected to attend the event on the island of Tortolla.
In addition to being named USCB's first softball coach in June 2010, Rietkovich serves as executive director of the South Effingham Angels softball organization and the Southern Star Softball Showcases.
The Sand Sharks will play their inaugural season of softball beginning in February 2012.
WOMEN'S SOCCER ALREADY LOOKING AHEAD
The Sand Sharks women's soccer program hasn't even played its first game yet, but coach Ed Heberling hopes to get a jump on his second recruiting class later this month.
Heberling has more than 30 players signed for USCB's inaugural season, which begins Aug. 20 with a match at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., but with several junior college transfers on the roster, he wants to bring in another strong class of freshmen in the 2012 class.
With that in mind, Heberling is hosting a two-day prospect camp for 2012 high school graduates on July 28-29. The camp will include two training sessions, at 6 p.m. July 28 and at 8 a.m. July 29, as well as a tour of the campus and an informational session with Heberling.
WOMEN'S GOLF SIGNS THREE
Women's golf coach Emily Kuhfeld has added three incoming recruits for next season, led by Valley Central (N.Y.) High School standout Tori DeGroodt, who won back-to-back Section 9 titles in high school.
The Sand Sharks also signed former Hilton Head High standout Samantha O'Donnell and Lindsey Mapes of Fairfield (Ohio) High School.