At Charlotte, racing among over 20 teams and 200-plus runners at the Charlotte Invitational, South Carolina's women's cross country team finished fourth behind three ranked teams at McAlpine Park on Friday afternoon.
Missing top runner Dani Barnes and No. 3 runner Ashley Evens, the rest of the Gamecocks stepped up.
Host Charlotte was first, followed by Clemson and USC Upstate.
USC coach Stan Rosenthal held out Barnes due to a shin injury while Evens did not make the trip to be with her family. Both are team captains.
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Sophomore Beatrice Biwott got out in the lead pack at the start and finished with a 36 second PR at 17:33 to finish sixth in the 5K race.
"We ran well without two of our leaders," Rosenthal said. "We had a couple of people that had 30-second PR's. I was very happy with Beatrice, particularly since it was in the afternoon where she has had problems running in the past. She ran with the leaders and had a really good race. She fought really hard and it was a very good result for her. If she keeps working hard and improving, I think she has a shot at All-SEC."
USC freshman Tatum Tyler was 26th with a PR of 18:41, followed by junior Laura Pramstaller in 35th at 18:52. The pack of freshman Sara Hartley and sophomores Chelsea Leroux and Nicole Rheinlander placed 41st, 42nd and 45th in PR's of 19:02, 19:02 and 19:04.
"Missing our two captains and two of our top three runners, the women could easily have thrown in the towel," Rosenthal said. "Then to get buried on top of that, I thought they might give up. Instead they really fought hard the entire race. I am sure we passed more runners the last two miles then any team racing. I am very proud of their efforts today."
South Carolina returns to action in two weeks when the team competes at the Princeton Invitational.
At Charlotte, Clemson's Kim Ruck ran a personal-best 5K en route to winning the women's individual championship at the Charlotte Invitational .
Ruck, who won her first individual title, led the women's team to a runner-up finish. The Clemson men's team also finished runner-up.
The women's team lost to host Charlotte, who tallied 47 points as a team. Clemson was eight points behind with 55 total. On the men's side, the 49ers won the team championship with 62 points. Clemson was second with 89.
Ruck posted a personal best over the 5K course, turning in a time of 17:02.4 to finish ahead of hometown favorite and defending Atlantic-10 champion Amanda Goetschius. A sophomore out of Greer, Ruck's championship was the second individual crown for the Clemson women's cross country team this season. Kelsey Armstrong won the Gamecock Invitational to start the season.
Armstrong finished fifth in the individual race. She also recorded a personal-best time over the 5,000-meter course, as she crossed the finish line in 17:32.5.
Lauren Reen, a freshman from Orlando, Fla., was the team's No. 3 scorer after a 12th-place showing. She had a time of 17:57.1, also a personal best.
Also scoring for the team were junior Stephanie Buffo (18th, 18:17.7) and sophomore Alyssa Kulik (22nd, 18:23.9).
The men's team had its top five scorers finish within 50 seconds of each other. Jonathan Sunde was the top finisher, as the native of Charlotte posted a 12th-place finish Friday. He had a time of 25:23.3 over the 8K course, Clemson's first team competition at that distance this season.
The No. 2 scorer for the Tigers was Chad Holt, who finished 16th with a time of 25:36.3.
Chris Slate finished in 19th place.
The Tigers will return to action on Friday, Oct. 16 in Boone, N.C., for the Blue Ridge Open.
- From Staff Reports