Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern are represented with this weekâ€™s â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť picks, as Pacifico Flores and Zoe Lowe receive the honors. Flores runs cross country as a senior and Lowe plays outside hitter as a sophomore volleyball player and 2017 all-conference selection.
In the Lancersâ€™ 3-1 (25-19, 25-13, 16-25, 25-15) win over visiting Bristol Central a week ago Monday, Lowe had 14 digs and a dozen kills.
â€śOnly a sophomore, Zoe has proven herself to be athletic, competitive and a talented athlete,â€ť Eastern coach Stacy Rivoira said. â€śAfter working hard all summer and starting preseason with high hopes, Zoe was sidelined with an injury and did not play the first part of our season. She is now 100 percent back and is playing her best volleyball yet. It is the perfect time for her to peak as we head into postseason play.
â€śShe has been steadily improving each game of the season. Her confidence and consistency are climbing and her game against RHAM was by far the best she has played all year long. Zoe is a key player on the offensive end and we look to her to finish plays. Not many players can hit with the velocity that Zoe can. She is a valuable player on our team.â€ť
Coming into this week with a 14-2 record, the Lancers started the season in hopes for a shot at a state title.
â€śWeâ€™re doing real well, weâ€™re all playing real well,â€ť Lowe said. â€śWeâ€™re starting to work as a team more than individually. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and in our ability to play. The team goal is to make it to the state championships and win.â€ť
The recent win against Bristol Central was important, because the Rams (14-3) have had a solid season going, too.
â€śWe came in knowing it would be a good game and that Central would be coming out playing their hardest, but in the end we were the better team team all-around,â€ť Lowe said. â€śThey never stopped playing and there was a lot of pressure.â€ť
Asked about what she needs to bring to the team game-in and game-out, it was to be a steady player.
â€śI need to bring a positive attitude all the time,â€ť Lowe said. â€śI need to get the kills when our team is down, so it brings the team up. I need to be consistent all-around, my hitting, serving and passing.â€ť
Flores, the son of Mary and Tom Flores, is a senior for coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk, joining his identical twin, Devin, as one of the three team captains. He placed first for the Rams, in 10th place overall, with a clocking of 16:48 at the Class L cross country meet held Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester.
His time of 16:48 matched that of his brother, who was listed as 11th overall, as the twins and teammates placed second behind Xavier as a team.
â€śThe Flores brothers have worked very hard over the past four years,â€ť Stafford-Kirk said. â€śPacifico has been very consistent for us this year and really stepped it up on Friday. Iâ€™ve talked a lot about racing hard off the line and that is exactly what Pacifico did on Friday. Both he and Devin went for it. He told me after the race that he put it all out there so he would have no regrets.
â€śIâ€™m very proud of him for that, because itâ€™s not easy to do. My three captains, Pacifico, Devin and Ian Kreciglowa, have really brought the team together this year. They were focused on a common goal and fought for it. We would not be Class L runners-up without their leadership.
â€śPacifico and Devin Flores literally crossed the line together at the Class L championship. It was a special moment for our team, for their family and me as their coach. They have continually contributed to our team, but a lot of other times other runners have gotten the recognition. They are okay with that, because of the greater good of the team is their priority, but after many miles run and many sacrifices it was very rewarding for them to run their best races ever at Class L.â€ť
Pacifico Flores explained his thoughts during the race.
â€śI raced as I usually do,â€ť Flores said. â€śI noticed that our No. 1 and No. 2 runners [Nate DeAngelo and Mark Petrosky] werenâ€™t having their best race, so I just decided to push more than I usually do to get a better score. I felt pretty good and my legs felt pretty nice. It was potentially our last race of the season, so I felt hyped. Iâ€™m usually the third runner [on the team], so it just shows your place isnâ€™t permanent and you canâ€™t be afraid to take the lead.â€ť
It was also a nice race to be competing in with his brother.
â€śHeâ€™s usually right behind me,â€ť Flores said. â€śWeâ€™re competitive and always pushing each other in the race. I enjoy having him on the team. We also have the same friends, we hang out with them after school. It gives us something to talk about.â€ť
As far as whatâ€™s next for the Athlete of the Week, itâ€™s the State Open on Friday at Wickham Park, where he says heâ€™s going to run his hardest in hoping his team qualifies for New Englands.
Flores plans on studying biology in college with the hope of getting into medical school. There are two doctors in his family.