With the sting of three straight losing seasons fresh in their memories, the Harlan County Lady Bears and coach Christina Spurlock are determined to change their fortunes in 2021 with a six-girl senior class returning.
“We have a strong team and great leadership. If they can go out and execute and play I like know they can, this group will accomplish great things this year,” said Spurlock. “It’s great to be back and have somewhat of a normal year, hopefully. I’m excited for this season to start. Overall, I have been pleased with their offseason workout and the work they have put in the last few weeks.”
Lindsey Browning, Gracie Ewing and Lily Caballero are returning senior starters from last year’s 5-11 team that lost to Bell County in the 52nd District finals
“Lindsey is the leader on the team. She’s very vocal and my strong middle but also outside hitter and blocker,” Spurlock said. “Lily is another leader on the team and is very vocal. Lily is an outsider hitter and also a great defensive player. Gracie is very vocal, shows leadership and will be my labro. She is also a strong defensive player.”
Serenity Whitehead and Kamryn Hoiska are two other seniors expected to play key roles.
“Serenity is a strong overall player, She will be a middle hitter and also a blocker,” Spurlock said. “Kamryn is a returning player who is a middle hitter.”
Chloe Shelton, a junior, will play a key role as a setter. Lindsey Hall, also a junior, is also in the mix for a starting job.
“Chloe has a big role and does it well.,” Spurlock said. “Lindsey is a strong outside hitter.”
Kalista Dunn, an eighth-grader who transferred from Hazard, has been a strong addition to the program.
“She is an all-around player. She reads the floor great and is a strong outside hitter,” Spurlock said.
Harlan County hasn’t won a district championship since 2014, but Spurlock likes what she’s seen from this year’s squad and is excited about the potential.
“I have high expectations for this group,” she said. “We ended the season last year on a high note getting runner up in the district and going to region. That’s what you want. You take that and build on it for the upcoming year and expect even better results. They have the talent and experience to finish on top in district if they want it, but you have to work for it, and I believe that they will.”