Western also lost Lerron Moore, the school's all-time leading rusher, to graduation. That has McCloud, a former Mercer County star, battling Tyrree Hayden for the starting job at tailback. McCloud played well in limited opportunities last year.
The Hilltoppers conclude practice April 21 with their annual spring game - and they better be ready for the start of the season because they will open the year at defending national champion Florida on Sept. 1. Western opened the 2006 season at Georgia.
Western will begin a two-year transition period from Division I-AA to Division 1-A this season. Western will be competing in the Sun Belt Conference starting in 2009 and will host Troy, last year's conference champion and New Orleans Bowl winner, on Nov. 10. Former Mercer coach and Kentucky offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is the offensive coordinator at Troy and the receivers coach is former Boyle County and UK player Neal Brown.The Hilltoppers will host in-state rivals Eastern Kentucky Sept. 15 and Morehead Nov. 17.
Several area soccer players have been selected to play on the Kentucky Olympic Development Program teams.
Savanah Austin and Kendall Thornberry made the girls 1994 team and Kate Carmen is an alternate. Kennedy Collier is on the girls 1993 team and Kaitlin Snapp is an alternate. Kayla Steber, Abby Kerbaugh and Kristan Paynter each made the girls 1992 team.
Calvin Steber made the boys 1995 team and Josh Lyons and Carl-Lewis Cummins are on the boys 1994 team.
The Olympic Development Program is a national program to identify and develop the best youth soccer players.
Kentucky will play games against Indiana on April 15 and will compete in the Region II competition in Illinois in July.
Eastern Kentucky football.
Eastern coach Danny Hope will open practices each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:45-5:45 p.m. as well as Saturday practices from 10 a.m. to noon to the public until spring practice ends April 14 with the annual Maroon-White scrimmage at Roy Kidd Stadium at 7 p.m.
The practice sessions take place at the turf field located next to the Presnell Building.
The track outside Junction City will host an open practice on Sunday beginning at noon. Admission will be $10 and will be good for access to the grandstand and pit areas.Ponderosa's season starts April 6. The track will have a new red clay surface as well as changes in the weekly divisions.
Go to www.ponderosaspeedway.net for additional information.