Ansonia High's Travis Flach poses with family and coaches after signing with Rio Grande
Thu, Feb. 2, 2012 - [Men's Cross Country]
By SHAWN GILBERT
The Greenfield Daily Advocate
ANSONIA - January 27 was a day that Ansonia High School senior Travis Flach will never forget. It was the day he signed his letter of intent to attend the University of Rio Grande and run both cross country and track and field for the RedStorm.
"I am very happy to be here today to sign Travis Flach to the University of Rio Grande cross country and track teams," Rio Grande assistant coach Steve Gruenberg said. "I am excited to have the unique opportunity to be Travis' high school Darke County track club coach, but also, now, his college coach."
Flach's head coach will be Bob Willey. He has had more than 100 NAIA all-Americans, more than 50 academic NAIA all-Americans and five individual NAIA national champions.
Willey has a strong history of developing athletes, most notably Matt Boyles, who went from being an average high school runner to become part of national championship competing cross country teams, a four-time NAIA national race walk champion and a second place finisher in the USA Olympic race walking trials.
"Obviously, there's a great opportunity for Travis to have great results as well," Gruenberg said. "Only time will tell. So, by signing these papers today, Travis becomes part of the family."
Flach's cross country coach at Ansonia, Todd Miller, agreed with Gruenberg's thoughts.
"I believe that Travis will greatly benefit the RedStorm's cross country and track teams," Miller said. "He's a very outgoing, energetic young man who possesses a passion for running. Travis has been an integral part of our high school boys' running program the last few years. He's unique in that he likes to plot his own course in life. Graduation won't change him, it will only transfer his focus and competitive mentality from Ansonia to Rio Grande."
Flach said he was disappointed for himself when Gruenberg moved up the coaching ranks and went to Rio Grande, but he was happy for Gruenberg.
"About three years ago I started doing indoor track with Steve, and over those three years we really started to bond, and I felt more like we were brothers. I looked forward to getting out of school every day so I could train with him," Flach said. "I was so elated when he had contacted me about running at Rio Grande that my mom and I drove the three hours there the next week. It's a relief to know that even though there are struggles ahead, I will have my coach back, and I have a great college to get me started on a great career in biology."
Ansonia Athletics Director Darrick Barga said that the school was excited and proud of Flach.
"He has strived to be his best and it has not gone unnoticed," Barga said. "Coach Willey and coach Gruenberg see Travis' potential and will help him achieve his goals. Rio Grande has great programs, academically and athletically. I wish Travis the best as he finishes his senior year and begins another chapter of his life."