Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Western International High sophomore Juan Flores has played soccer since he was age 4, but he now gets his kicks out of running.
Flores, competing in only his third meet after quitting the Cowboys’ soccer team, ran a steady pace to win the 2012 Detroit Public School League boys’ cross country championship race Monday, Oct. 23 at Belle Isle and has been named the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“I expected to do okay because I had been playing soccer, but I didn’t know I would win,’’ said Flores, who broke from the pack about halfway through the 5,000 meter course and built a comfortable lead to cross the finish line first in 18:16.263 seconds. “I’m really proud of myself. It was a great accomplishment.”
Flores came out for cross country at the suggestion of a friend on the team. “I left the soccer team because we weren’t playing that well and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore,’’ he said.
“Now I’m thinking that if I really work hard in cross country, I could earn a college scholarship. Just from what I’ve done so far, I think my potential could be higher. My goal is to achieve a time of 17 minutes.”
Flores, who has a 3.0 grade point average, said he aspires to have a career in aviation. He’s entertaining thoughts of joining the Air Force to become a pilot. In his spare time, he competes in MMA (mixed martial arts).
“MMA is just something I do for the challenge of it,” he said. “It’s like running cross country. I decided to run to prove to myself that I could do it. It’s been a great stress reliever.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators