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The 2012 edition of the Alice Lloyd Eagles Cross Country team will be the largest combined squad in school history. Coach Gary Stepp has seven men and five women who will don the royal blue and white this year.

“The student athletes have been working extremely hard the past several weeks and are eager to test themselves against strong competition,” stated Coach Stepp. “I have been pleased with the effort and dedication that this squad has demonstrated, and I look forward to them realizing the results from their labors.”

The women’s squad returns four veterans in senior Kimberly Schroeder, juniors Jerkia VanDyke, and Ashley Foster, and sophomore Amanda Ashworth. All have valuable experience and have faced the grind of many races before.

Two freshmen, highly regarded Allison Holbrook and Brianne Osborne, should help the squad with their continued improvement. Holbrook (Leslie Co.) was one of the top high school senior female runners in Eastern Kentucky last season and was a huge recruiting coup for the Lady Eagles. Osborne (Wise Christian) has a ton of potential and will redshirt this season. She will have four years of eligibility remaining.

On the men’s side, Stepp is excited with the entirely new group he has brought in. Sophomore Jimmy Noble (Buckhorn) has great potential, while fellow sophomore Caleb Lofton has made huge strides in a short amount of time.

Five freshman newcomers to watch include Jonathan Aldana (Belfry,) Ethan Bowling (Jenkins), Blain Grubbs (Harlan Co.), Greg Randolph (North Laurel), and Tyler Turner (Harlan Co.). Randolph was one of the top seniors in the mountains last year and is a huge addition to the squad. Aldana, Bowling, Grubbs and Turner, were each multi-sport stars in high school and have shown great promise.

The 2012 season opens on September 8th at the Hindman Gingerbread 5K Run. The first conference race will be September 15th at Berea College.