The Alice Lloyd College Cross Country squad traveled to Pikeville on October 1st to participate in the UPike Invitational. Participants from Pikeville and Bluefield joined the Eagles on a mountainous course that had been soaked by rain the entire day. Twenty-seven total runners toed the starting line, but the adverse weather did little to deter ALC as they made a solid showing.
Greg Randolph (North Laurel) turned in another amazing performance, as the freshman from London, KY completed the challenging, muddy race in 18:04. For his effort, Randolph earned first place. With his victory, he becomes the first runner in school history to win an intercollegiate meet.
Jimmy Noble (Buckhorn) made a solid showing as well as he finished in third place with a solid time of 19:27. Noble’s time showed a continued improvement by the sophomore, and he was able to ascend the medal stand alongside Randolph.
The two frontrunners were followed by the freshman duo of Ethan Bowling (Jenkins) and Blane Grubbs (Cawood), who finished very well in sixth (20:18) and ninth place (21:16), respectively.
Sophomore Caleb Lofton (Manchester, Oh) and freshman Jonathan Aldana (Belfry) both demonstrated true grit as they each pushed themselves to the end. Their times (23:55 and 26:13) landed them in eleventh and thirteenth place.
The Eagles just fell to the hosts in the team battle as UPike earned first place with 29 points, while ALC tallied 27 to finish second.
“I am very pleased with the overall improvement we are making,” commented Coach Gary Stepp after the match. “We are working hard and the team is really a tight-knit group. I am very proud of Greg for earning the convincing win, which is a first for our program, and Jimmy finished strong in third place.”
Stepp added, “Ethan, Blane, Caleb, and Jonathan all ran solid races and really are showing great potential. I like the way this squad is coming together, especially to be so young. If we continue our effort and stay healthy, I believe this bunch of young men can be the start of something special for our school.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Amanda Ashworth (Hazard) fought the whole way and finished her run in a time of 35:40. “She really showed a lot of determination on such a rough course, especially since she had teammates out due to injuries,” said Coach Stepp.