SOUTH CAROLINA — USC Upstate, a small college in South Carolina, was in mourning Monday after four student-athletes died from injuries in a car wreck.
Students at the school of about 6,000 students in Spartanburg planned to hold a candlelight vigil Monday night in the school soccer stadium. The school urged students to wear green, the school color.
The school website showed green ribbons being tied to trees around campus. A tweet urged athletes and students to wear “travel/sports gear” to one of the athletes’ funerals and for students to wear “anything Upstate.”
The students died early Sunday morning when a car ran off the road, struck a tree and caught fire, said Sgt. Bob Beres, spokesperson for South Carolina Highway Patrol. CNN affiliate WSPA said the wreck occurred about a mile from the campus.
Three students died at the scene and one died at a hospital, Beres said.
Killed were Sarah Vande Berg, 20, of Zephyr Hills, Florida; James Campbell, 21, of Greenville, South Carolina; Horace Miller Sproull IV, 20, of Birmingham, Alabama; and Josh Lee, 20, of Spartanburg, according to CNN affiliate WYFF.
Campbell and Sproull played on the soccer team. Berg played tennis and Lee ran cross-country.
A fifth student, Felicia Ahlborg of Sweden, was injured in the crash, and was in fair condition at Spartanburg Regional Hospital, WYFF reported. She played on the tennis team.
“There are no words to describe this loss to the USC Upstate family and no way to comfort the grieving families who have lost their loved ones,” Chancellor Thomas F. Moore said on the school webpage.
Berg studied communications and wanted to land a job at Disney World, the school website said.
“Sarah was one of my first recruits since moving to USC Upstate and one of the first American recruits,” USC Upstate tennis head coach Dr. Oliver Trittenwein said. “She always made an effort with the new girls to the team and she would drive them to the grocery store and to go shopping. All the girls loved her and liked her and in turn, she cared for them.”
Campbell, a business administration major, went to Marshall University in West Virginia upon graduating from high school and transferred to USC Upstate in January, the website said.
“He was a very hard-working and intense player whose competitiveness made those around him play harder,” men’s soccer coach Greg Hooks said. “Most importantly he was a great young man who will be missed very much.”
Lee majored in physical education, the school website said.
“My brother was my better half,” his sister, Macy Lee, said. “He was the peanut butter to my jelly. He has grown into a very special young man and he made us so proud. I will cherish the memories I had with him forever.”
Sproull was a business administration major, the school website said. Friends said he had a good sense of humor.
“He wanted to make sure that people felt like they were included,” Ryan Rector said. “He was outgoing and just an all-around good person.”
Messages of sympathy poured in from social media with the hashtag #SpartanStrong. Other schools in USC Upstate’s athletic league, the Atlantic Sun Conference, sent condolences on twitter.
“Our thoughts and support are with our @AtlanticSun family member USC Upstate in their tragic loss. #SpartanStrong,” tweeted the University of North Florida.