Prep Newsmaker: Flack helping to turn Farmington's season around
FARMINGTON — Senior Ashley Flack was named to the all-tournament team of the Tournament of Champions held in Santa Fe over the weekend.
For Flack, that honor took a backseat to the accomplishments of the Farmington volleyball team, which dug itself out of a major early-season hole on Saturday.
The Lady Scorpions beat Belen in straight sets in Santa Fe to claim the championship of the silver bracket. In doing so, they brought their 0-4 season record all the way up to 3-4, all in one weekend's worth of work.
Flack played extremely well in Farmington's season-altering statement win by racking up 35 assists against Belen. That performance earned her all-team honors, which she wasn't aware of until the next day.
"It was kind of unexpected. I didn't really think about it," Flack said. "It was really cool once I read about it in the paper because I didn't know about it beforehand."
Georgia Willie, who was also named to the all-tournament team, was exceptional for Farmington in the tourney with 27 kills.
Flack said it wasn't just herself and Willie who clicked in Saturday's final against Belen, but the entire team.
"In the final game we just connected and we found a rhythm in that game," she said. "There was a lot of communication, which really helped the team. And then everybody was just doing their part."
Currently sitting at the top of District 1-5A in the assist category with 161 on the season, Flack has become adept at setting up her teammates, according to head coach Dan Hickman.
"It's just her tenacity to go out there and get under the ball," Hickman said. "Even when the pass is not quite there she will go out there and generate the set. When a ball is passed out of system, she can bring the ball back into system and make it work."
Flack, who has been on Farmington's varsity team for four years, has come a long way from her freshman days as an opposite hitter. She is now one of the team's rocks and one of the best setters in the district, but she said the transition wasn't easy.
"It was hard because you're expected to get to every second ball as a setter, but as an opposite I didn't touch the ball nearly as much," she said. "So just the responsibility of getting the ball and getting it up to where the hitter can use it was tough. It was a big difference."
Hickman is in his fourth year as coach of the Lady Scorps, so he has been on the sidelines for every moment of Flack's high school career. He believes the experience she's gained over the years is showing in her play.
"In her first year, you could see her lack of confidence and lack of ownership on the court," he said.
Hickman recalled a moment of inexperience on Flack's part back in 2012 when she was a freshman.
"I remember in one of our district games, she stepped outside the court to miss a ball and the ball hit her," he said. "That was a very defining moment because that was the difference of the team's positioning in district. It crushed her. You don't see those things happen anymore, her judgement is light-years ahead of where it once was."
Flack said she really started to find her way as a setter, and as a volleyball player in general, toward the end of last season. She credited Hickman with helping her be the best player she could be.
"I was not very technical when I came here and coach taught me basically everything," Flack said. "He's one of those coaches who really pushes you mentally so when you break through it's like this 'aha moment.' It was really good when that set in towards the end of last year."
Now on a three-game win streak, the momentum is building for the Lady Scorps and the team is confident it can keep rolling and make an impact in district play.
According to Flack, who will study nutrition at Southern Utah University next year, the Lady Scorps are now confident in themselves after the big team win.
"Those wins taught our team that we can win," she said. "From now on, we know that when we win it's expected, not the other way around."
A closer look: Ashley Flack
1. Favorite team?
“New York Yankees.”
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite movie?
“She's the Man.”
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
“Buy a house.”
10. Do you have any pregame rituals?
“I like to say a prayer.”
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and email@example.com. Follow him @JakeNewby07 on Twitter.