by nathan oster
Paige Flock, a senior at Greybull High School, has signed a letter of intent to run cross-country at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.
The daughter of Ty and Ginger Flock, Paige made it official on Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving — during a signing ceremony at Buff Gym. Joining her and her parents for the event were Jeff Sukut, the track coach at GHS, and Tanya Kienlen, who coaches indoor track and cross-country at Worland High School.
Also in attendance and seated alongside Paige was Al Lara, the cross-country coach at CWC. He has big hopes for his new signee. “We definitely think she can help our program,” said Lara, who founded the cross-country team at CWC four years ago. “We just had our best year … and I definitely think it helped with recruiting.”
Paige’s scholarship is for cross-country, but she’ll also have the opportunity to run indoor and outdoor track at CWC. Paige said she doesn’t know if she will, adding that while running cross-country always interested her, the idea of committing to do all three was one of the reasons she hadn’t considered pursuing a running career beyond high school.
“I know that in most college programs you have to run all three — indoor, outdoor and cross country — and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that so I didn’t even think about running in college,” she said. “But at the state meet, Coach Lara was there with his runners and they’d made posters. They told me they wanted to recruit me, just to run cross-country. So I went on a campus visit and basically that’s when I decided to do it.”
Lara said that in his visits with Paige, the one thing that stood out was her desire to improve.
“I always come straight out and tell the recruits I’m going to work them hard. Gillette is a powerhouse — we are the only two junior colleges in the state that offer cross-country — and in order for us to compete with them, we have to work even harder,” said Lara. “Paige looking me in the eye and telling me she isn’t afraid to work hard, well that impressed me.”
Lara said he believes that with better training, Flock has the potential to run a 5k cross-country race in under 20 minutes. She has been in the 22 to 23 minute range as a prep runner; her best was a 22:29.65. “There’s room for improvement,” said Lara.
Paige agrees. “I definitely think it’s doable.”
Paige doesn’t plan to run indoor track this winter but will be back in the blue and gold in the spring, running track for the Greybull Buffs. Her career goal is to go into education and become a teacher and believes CWC has a strong program.
And as a bonus, she’ll get scholarship money to do something she loves. “It’s something that takes your mind off of everything that is going on around you,” she said, when asked about the sport’s appeal.