GREENFIELD — The oldest sibling enjoys cooking and running sprints, while the middle child likes to read and throw a shot. The youngest Flora sibling at Greenfield-Central? He prefers to fish and run middle distance.
Although bonded together by their last names, Amanda, Jennifer and Greg Flora — all members of the Cougars track and field teams — are far from the same. However, for Greenfield-Central, three Floras have proven better than one.
Cougars head coach Jan Hacker, who has been with the program for 15 seasons, has seen plenty of sibling athletes in her time around sports. Three on the same team, though, is a whole different story.
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“I can’t remember three at the same time,” Hacker said. “They are all just kids of character. Not only are they great athletes, they are great kids. I can’t emphasize that enough.”
Each their own athlete
Amanda, 18, the tallest of the trio, recently signed her letter of intent to Eastern Michigan University, where she will join the rowing team with a hefty academic scholarship attached.On the track for Greenfield-Central this season, Amanda participates in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
“She (Amanda) is very much a team player and the amount of work that is going to go into rowing and being together like that (will be tough),” Hacker said. “You have to have a kid that is committed and willing to get up early and work.”
With her shorter stature, Jennifer, 17, sticks to the field events and throws shot and discus for the Cougars as a junior.
On Tuesday, Jennifer finished first in the shot put at the Pendleton Heights Invitational and placed third in the discus throw.
Amanda was a part of the winning 1,600-meter relay team and took second in the 200-meter dash, helping Greenfield-Central finish first overall.
Greg, 15, a raw and lanky freshman, is still coming into his own as a rookie this season. He has shown promise in the 800-meter run, though, as well as the 1,600 this year.
“They are very different in their abilities and so are their personalities,” Hacker said. “But they blend well. They are just hard-working kids.”
One more run together
For Amanda, who helped the basketball team win a sectional title over the winter, finding a college with the right mix of athletics and academics was challenging. It all changed one day in the Cougars athletics office.“Coach (Doug Laker) handed me a letter one day and it had rowing on it,” Amanda said. “I didn’t really take it seriously, more as a joke until they called me a few times. They saw that I was tall and athletic.
“I went and visited over spring break and got to watch them do it. A lot of the recruits have never rowed before.”
Jennifer, who enjoys every type of book besides non-fiction, will certainly miss her older sister.
“I literally look up to her,” she joked.
Greg added that his transition to high school was easier with two big sisters there for nearly every step.
“It’s nice to have them here supporting me,” he said. “I know they are always behind me. I have never been on a team with them.”
More to come
And although Amanda and Jennifer’s time at the school is coming to a close, the Flora family is just getting started.Parents of eight, David and Carol Flora still have four children waiting to go through high school. The oldest of the bunch, Rebecca, 20, is currently running track at Marian University in Indianapolis. Joanna is 14, Amy is 12, Benjamin in 8 and Joseph, the youngest, is 5.
David, a chemist at Eli Lilly who received his master’s degree from Wright State, ran track at Ashland College in Ohio. Carol, a biology professor at IUPUI, played basketball in high school and received her doctorate degree at Wright State.
And according to Hacker, the apple did not fall far from the tree as all are near the top of their classes academically.
“If you knew their parents … they’re just a wonderful group,” Hacker said.
And for the veteran coach, this season will be one to remember with one of the best families she’s had the pleasure of being around.
“They are just great leaders, not only vocally but by example too,” Hacker said. “When you have great kids like that, it’s just a pleasure (to coach).”