To elaborate: “Back three years ago when I started coaching cross country,” Sizemore said during a signing ceremony for Lones Tuesday at the school. She is headed to Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. “I kept hearing about this girl and how great she was as a runner and all of these things.
“She had a broken arm and I thought, ‘It’s not a leg. She can still run.’ And I come into the gym and I talk to her and she says, ‘Yeah, but I just don’t think I can do it this year with my arm.’
“I was very disappointed. And confused,” Sizemore said with a warm smile appearing. “As she was telling me this, she was bouncing a basketball the whole time.”
The good news, the reason she was able to provide that warm smile, was Lones came out the following year. Needless to say, she definitely put her best foot forward. She won the inaugural Central Fellowship home meet in 2008 – one of her proudest moments, she said. She was named to the All-Region team that year and the year following. And she was named to the All-State team this year and was named the team’s Most Valuable Runner. And, not only did she come out for cross country, she ran track, too.
“She just has so much talent and ability,” Sizemore said. Sizemore by the way was at one point a personal trainer at GCSU and thus helped her get noticed by the current staff. “And she’s just a Godly woman. It’s been great to see how her heart has grown for the Lord. And I’m very excited for her and the opportunity she has. Both spiritually and academically as she transitions into college and what she can bring to the Bobcat program.”
Lones said she also entertained thoughts of going to Mercer but wants to major in nursing. To attend Mercer would mean she would have to go to Atlanta, “And I didn’t want to go to Atlanta,” she said.
Milledgeville on the other hand, definitely, and not just because she said she loves the campus, but also because GCSU holds special memories with ties to Central Fellowship.
“That’s where we played the championship game (in 2009 in basketball),” she said. “And that gym is just something else.” (Note: An additional basketball memory is when the team needed a 3-pointer to reach the Final Four. “There were 16 seconds on the clock,” she said. “And I hit it.”)
The next step in regard to college – as outlined by her future coach, she said – is for the first week to build up to 30 miles a week. After that she and the rest would do a mile run together as a team and then, “he’ll hand out individual workout assignments for the summer,” she said.
As far as the moment and the scholarship signing: “It feels great,” she said. “This is something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. I just can’t believe it’s here.”
And it won’t even cost her an arm and a leg.