As the final minutes of the cross-country State Regional approached, the intensity and drama in the air was thick. Cowbells, whistles, and cheers collectively clanged loudly in the ears of the runners. Sights of crisp-orange leaves on trees, as well as the stark green grass of the Chandler-Park golf course, plainly contrasted with the bleak and cloudy grey sky, of which seemed to set an ominous and serious tone. Across these several final minutes, lots of young athletes from the lower section of the state would dump out their performances, and exhaust both their minds and hearts as students of the three-point-one mile distance. As the most important race of the season came to a close, many of the athletes in the race were experiencing those final few out-of-body moments that replay in an athlete’s mind as a permanent memory for years to come. For Ethan Flosky ’20 of L’Anse Creuse High School, they were the final few moments he would don the Lancer’s Cross Country uniform in a major race. Although Flosky didn’t know it at the time, (although perhaps in the back of his mind he did), everything leading up to that moment and everything that would come after, would mark the MHSAA Region 8-1 Cross-Country final as a defining moment in Flosky’s athletic career, and to an extent his High-School life. As he stomped through the finish, the L’Anse Creuse Valedictorian threw his arms up in triumph, having ran the 5,000 meter distance in 17:33, a lifetime best for Flosky. Reflecting back on what would be his final moments in an LC uniform, Flosky said “It felt really weird.. but I felt ready to move on. I was proud of what I accomplished and the impact I made on my team and coach.”
Flosky first joined cross-country as a sophomore for the 2017 season after running track that year as a freshman at L’Anse Creuse High School. An honors student involved in various AP classes and prestigious programs, Flosky quickly found athletic success through his first year of running. Flosky’s biggest break came with a moment he would never forget, where during only his second cross country race, Flosky helped the L’Anse Creuse team claim a major victory over Fraser and many other schools, winning the first MAC Blue Jamboree and beating Fraser High School with a difference of only a few points. At the time, Flosky was the seventh and last runner on his varsity team, but he still contributed to his team’s score, running 19:47 for the three-point-one mile distance and placing in front of Fraser’s fourth runner, which affected their scoring. As the seventh runner on varsity, Flosky and his team would go on to win the MAC Blue Division championship two months later. “My favorite moment from cross-country would be winning the MAC Blue Jamboree. The first division race, our team ended up beating the second place team by only one point. I was the seventh man and barely edged out one of the second place team’s runners. My coach told me that if I hadn’t have beaten him, we wouldn’t have won that meet. The upperclassmen were complementing me a lot on the race, and it really made me feel important to the varsity team, especially for my first season running.” Flosky reminisced.
From that moment on, Flosky was hooked on the sport of distance running. As he continued through High-School, he further honed his skills both academically and athletically. Wrapping up his sophomore cross country season, Flosky ran a personal best of 18:22. During his sophomore season of track, Flosky ran 5:02 in the mile. As he rose to become both the best runner and best student of L’Anse Creuse High School, he developed important bonds along the way. “There are two friendships that really developed because of joining cross-country. I started to hangout more with my teammate Logan. We figured out we have very similar interests, and he has become one of my closest friends coming out of high school. He is someone that is always trying to work harder, and he has told me that I have helped him a lot by keeping him accountable. Another teammate I formed a bond with is Ryan. Ryan ended up quitting cross-country to focus on baseball. We still hangout, and we always talk about the importance of hard work. We are always discussing the new things we implement into our training, and the small successes we have along the way. Both Ryan and Logan are Christians, and they have both helped me grow in my faith.” Said Flosky.
“Ethan is the Shining example of an amazing friend” Said Logan Bates ’20, fellow L’Anse Creuse graduate to Flosky, as well as varsity cross-country runner and swimmer.
Bates, a four-year cross-country runner, surrounded Flosky from the beginning, as they worked through many endeavors together. “He is supportive and is always pushing you to be your best in all aspects of your life such as emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ethan brings his hard work ethic into everything and never settles for ‘just average’. I met him freshman year and we quickly became close. Sophomore year, I introduced him to cross-country where he would eventually become the captain of the team…We won the boat regatta junior year, once again showing Ethan’s commitment to excellence. Ethan is an amazing Christian brother, friend, and can do anything he sets his mind to. I know we will stay extremely close and I look forward to being life-long friends.” Commented Bates.
As Flosky trekked on through his ambitions, his determination and dedication shone through. However, Flosky’s junior year would prove to be an uphill battle. “Going into my junior season of cross-country, I realized that to improve I needed to increase my training intensity. I increased it too fast, and hit my peak performance early in the season.” Flosky commented.
Flosky ran a huge personal best of 17:56 at only the second meet of his junior season, a time which he frustratingly wouldn’t be able to beat as the weeks rolled on. “Throughout the season, I had dead legs, but I kept running. I did not give my body any rest. The last two weeks, I started to feel nagging pain in my right foot. The doctor and trainer said I was fine, so I kept running races on it. At the end of those last few races, I could barely walk. I ended up getting an x-ray a few weeks later, and it was a stress fracture.”
After being diagnosed with a stress fracture following his junior season of cross-country, much of Flosky’s running hopes were dashed. Despite becoming the top runner at L’Anse Creuse High School, He would need several months for his foot to heal, thus taking him out of the running scene for the foreseeable future, and even causing him to be unable to run his entire junior season of Track & Field. Looking back on the rough aspects of his junior year, Flosky realized they helped make him who he is, stating “I had to do physical therapy instead of track. This whole experience taught me a very important lesson. Listen to your body, rest often, and only increase intensity slightly each week. This changed my mindset of training, and now I feel that I am a much better runner.”
Finishing his junior year as the top student in his class and the best runner at his school, Flosky was given the greenlight to begin summer running once again and prepare for his senior season of cross-country. Thinking back to his early junior year, Flosky lamented the fact that he was bitter throughout the Fall. “My junior cross-country season sucked. Every time I ran a race it was not good enough. I never celebrated my wins and focused only on running faster, or running more. My senior year I did not want to make the same mistake. I decided to really focus on just enjoying the moment.” Stated Flosky on his mindset before his final season.
While he battled through the trials and tribulations of his junior year athletically, Flosky was always in tune academically. Flosky boasts a stacked resume of completed classes including AP bio, AP Calc BC, AP physics, AP Statistics, as well as many others. The true valedictorian of L’Anse Creuse, Flosky would graduate ranked number one in his class. On his most proud achievement academically, he commented “I definitely am most proud of the amount of AP tests that I passed. I got six fives on a variety of tests. My favorite class I would say would be either AP Calculus or AP Stat. There were just so many real life skills and applications, all of which are really going to help me with my major at U of M. The teachers that helped me the most were Ms. Missig and Mrs. McCarron. Ms. Missig helped me get a five on the AP bio test, and also connected me with a valuable job shadow opportunity … She really set me on course to do research in college. She worked with me, and I don’t think I could have gotten into U of M without her.”
As Flosky’s senior season began, He was happy to be running at Cross-Country meets again. Though he wasn’t at his peak performance, he enjoyed himself a lot more his senior year and his leadership as captain of the team shone through. “My coach and my teammates said I was much more enjoyable to be around my Senior year because I wasn’t so mad after races. By focusing on enjoying my last season, I made improvements as the team captain and with my running.” Said Flosky.
Although Flosky once again had great momentum in each aspect of his life rolling through his senior year, it was still difficult to balance everything at once. Flosky’s dedication to both running and school continued to shine through, as he put in long hours of work with both. On balancing the aspects of his life, Flosky comments “It was difficult at times to manage running, being the team captain, and maintaining my number one spot in my class. It really got hectic during Homecoming week, midterms, and AP testing, although I managed it all pretty well. I owe it all to time management. I was always very diligent and prioritized the things that mattered the most.”
During his senior year, Flosky committed to the University Of Michigan. On his choice, Flosky stated “When I started to research the college, it immediately felt like the right fit. They are a top ranked university with tons of networking opportunities. It is close to home, and they gave me more in scholarships than any other college that accepted me. I am hopeful to be running meets for the club team. As of right now, I am undecided, but I plan to major in physics or mathematics with a minor in computer science.”
As Flosky’s senior year rolled on, nobody could have anticipated how it would end. Despite being in good graces athletically, Flosky would once again have to sit out of track & field season, due to circumstances completely beyond his own control. Having his senior prom, graduation, and final season of track ripped away was devastating for Flosky after how far he had come in the years leading up to 2020. However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and out of all people, it can be left up to Flosky to take away something positive from the Spring of 2020. “It felt terrible to have my senior season ripped away. I was really looking forward to having some big PR’s. I had a great distance team to run with and then it all stopped. Running during lockdown absolutely sucked, but it gave me time to improve my aerobic fitness drastically and research new aspects of training. The training during lockdown was some of the best training I had done, and it put me on a path to have much safer and consistent training in the future. I look forward to some big PR’s while running on a club team in college.” Said Flosky.
When it was all said and done, perhaps one of the defining moments for Flosky was during his last cross-country race, when things came down to those previously mentioned ever-so-valuable final moments of the regional final. Although he didn’t know it at the time, but perhaps deep down he did, Soon after that race it would be time for Flosky to forever hang up the L’Anse Creuse uniform. As the sights of the warm orange trees clashed across the view of the future-bearing grey sky during that October evening, Flosky raced through those final few hundred meters. It is maybe a fitting finale for Flosky then that he crossed the finish line with a lifetime best time of 17:33, finally smashing his previous PR of 17:56 from when he peaked early his junior year before getting hurt. As he caught his breath in the finish chute, Flosky was no doubt, at peace. “High School was a great experience. I met so many amazing and close friends. I actually switched from a private school to a public school in between eighth and ninth grade, and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. It led to me becoming valedictorian, joining cross-country, and going to The University of Michigan. I am so glad to have graduated from LCHS and to have met some great people.”