Rhakeem Brown wasn't looking for a big-city feel.
He didn't need the party scene or the large campus or any particular trait from a school's track and field facilities. Instead, the Battery Creek senior leaned toward somewhere he would feel comfortable in the classroom.
A visit to Francis Marion received a ho-hum response. But after visiting Limestone College, Brown knew he was headed to Gaffney.
He signed a letter of intent to run cross country and track for the Saints.
"I was just blown away," Brown said. "I liked the athletic part, because they almost qualified for the NCAA finals, but the school part was what got me."
The small class sizes reminded him of high school. He said he expects valuable one-on-one time while pursuing his criminal justice degree and hopes to launch a career as a federal agent. And Limestone has an ROTC program, which Brown plans to join. He's already a member of the National Guard, as military police.
At Battery Creek, Brown runs the mile, the 800 meters and is a member of the 4x800 relay team. He said Limestone coaches told him he would probably run the middle distances with the Saints, with an emphasis on the 800.
Brown said he looked forward to the chance to compete in an indoor season. Battery Creek coach Tyrone Pierce recently took his team to watch an indoor meet. That was Brown's first exposure to the different atmosphere.
Brown's goal for college cross country is to break 29 minutes on the 8-kilometer course. And in track, he'd like to beat 1:51 in the 800.
During his visit, Brown said he toured the entire Limestone campus, sitting in on classes and exploring the dorms. Brown said he liked the school's weight room and training facilities. And he met some of his future teammates.
"They had everything I needed and more," Brown said. "It was just a really nice visit."
Name: Rhakeem Brown
High school: Battery Creek
Sport: Track, cross country
High school coach: Tyrone Pierce
Events: 1600 meters, 800 meters, 4x800
College: Limestone College
Probable major: Criminal justice
About Limestone College: The Saints men's team was ranked No. 2 in the Southeast in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll. The outdoor season opens March 18 at the Charlotte 49er Classic.
Why Limestone College? "I liked how they put education above athletics. They make sure you get your grades. That really stood out."
Other schools considered: Francis Marion
Other high school sports played: Basketball