Featured Coach: Coach Flachsbart


Provided by Katherine Dunn

Senior Oliva Petgrave and junior Reagan Heafey-De Angelis with Coach Flachsbart on the track.

Prowl: How long have you been coaching?

Coach Flachsbart: “This is my 7th year.”

Prowl: How did you get involved in coaching track and field?

Coach Flachsbart: “I heard that the team was in need of a distance coach. I’ve had a lot of personal experience with distance running, so I decided to apply. And, six years later, I’m still here!

Prowl: What are the most important qualities of a successful track athlete?

Coach Flachsbart: “Determination, a positive attitude, and a growth mindset. We have a big team, so positivity and concern for the team is important. Athletes should support one another, and be willing to occasionally make sacrifices or step outside their comfort zone for the team. This might mean doing an event that they weren’t planning on doing because we’re down a teammate, or just simply staying through the meet when you’re done to support your teammates. But there’s also an individual side to track–while you’re competing against others, you’re also competing against yourself, trying for your personal best and making improvements as the season progresses.”

Prowl: How do you motivate and inspire your athletes to perform their best?

Coach Flachsbart: “I make sure to tell them when they’re doing great, and talk it through when they’re struggling or having a bad day. Track–like all sports– is very mental, so it’s important to check in mentally and set goals for yourself. Above all, I try to encourage my athletes to believe that they can improve, and feel good about themselves when they do.”

Prowl: How do you measure success as a coach?

Coach Flachsbart: “When I see the athletes trying their best, having fun, and supporting one another, then I feel like we have a successful team. Success might be setting a PR, cheering on a teammate, or leaving a meet or practice feeling like you gave it your best effort.”

Prowl: Can you share a memorable moment or achievement in your coaching career? 

Coach Flachsbart: “Honestly, every time I get a high five or an athlete showing excitement over an accomplishment, that’s meaningful to me. But one thing that will always stand out is when I had two athletes decide to do the Steeplechase at one of our invitationals, which is a 2000 meter hurdling event. One of the hurdles requires athletes to jump over the hurdle into a pit of water. The girls who chose to do it had a blast splashing into the water– it made me laugh. And they did quite well!”

Prowl: Why did you choose to become the distant runner coach?

Coach Flachsbart: “I enjoy distance running- and it’s been a huge part of my entire adult life. I’ve done over 10 half marathons and many other races. I’m not very fast, and my times aren’t impressive, but I do have good endurance and I love the training process. I wanted to share my knowledge–but more importantly my passion–for running with high school students. I want them to cultivate a lifelong love for running and athleticism. I also really enjoy working with teenagers outside the classroom setting.”

Prowl: What is your favorite part of coaching?

Coach Flachsbart: “Making connections with athletes and seeing them proud of themselves.”