Just because Enterprise High School 2014 graduate and rising global track star David Ribich became a professional runner for Brooks Sports, Inc., doesn’t mean he forgot his Outlaws’ heritage. In fact, he made it a condition of his Brooks’ contract that his high school alma mater share in his good fortune as well.
“The ability of a company to pursue my off-track goals were equally important as my on-track goals,” Ribich wrote in a statement he sent to his mom, Jenny Reinheardt. “Brooks jumped at the idea to give back to the roads that raised me and help a community I feel so strongly about. I hope that for the duration of my career a partnership from my sponsor and EHS can occur.”
“The funds are provided through the Brooks Booster Club,” Ribich said. “They already have an established rapport with schools around the country, giving them stipends. When I heard that, it was like, ‘This is ideal because this is something I want to do as well.’” Negotiations for the stipend and scholarship were smooth as could be as the Brooks Booster Club exists for just such purposes.
Because of Ribich’s efforts, EHS received a $12,500 (MSRP) Brooks gear stipend. As a bonus, Brooks also included a $2,000 annual senior scholarship for a graduating student of Wallowa County. Ribich said the scholarship is not necessarily track specific and is given at the discretion of EHS cross-country and track coach, Dan Moody.
“I just wanted to give a $2,000 annual scholarship for anyone that wanted to pursue a specific interest or dream of theirs,” Ribich said. “Anything that is in the interest of a graduating senior.”
The funds for this year’s scholarships just arrived in Enterprise this week, Moody said. He chipped in an additional $400, bringing the scholarship total to $2400. It will be divided equally into three scholarships, he said, for EHS students who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level. The awards this year go to Ella Coughlan and Carli Bedard, both of whom run for the Eastern Oregon University team, and Hero Peters, who is on the Corbin University track team.
The new track uniforms arrived just two days too late for Wallowa County’s award-winning cross-country team to wear them in competition, Moody said. “David actually designed the pattern on them,” he said of the colorful shirts. “They are black, with orange for Wallowa, red for Enterprise, and blue for Joseph.” The featherweight warm-up jackets have hoods and are both water- and wind-proof.
Moody noted that the Enterprise track uniforms and warm-ups are high quality. “The tops are heavyweight material,” he said. “They’d cost about $100.” The Enterprise track uniforms were rolled out at last year’s awards ceremony, which was held on April 1, Moody said. “David came to the ceremony and I asked him to dress in the gaudiest track gear he could find—and then put regular clothes over it,” When time came to reveal what the new uniforms looked like, David stripped off his sweats and stood there, resplendent in multicolored garb that bore little resemblance to any suitable Enterprise or Wallowa County track and field team outfit. After the expressions of shock had worn off a bit, Moody asked Jake Coggins and Shelby Moncrief, who had donned the actual uniforms under their sweats, to step forward and reveal the actual uniforms. The relief, and also the enthusiasm, among athletes and audience was palpable, Moody said. “It was an April Fools joke and after a moment, everybody got it.”
Currently, Ribich is recruiting top high school track athletes across the country for an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the Brooks PR Invitational annual meet at Seattle, which will hopefully occur as planned in June. He is also training for the upcoming American Olympic trials scheduled for June 18–28 in Eugene. Ribich has set new personal records in the 3000 m race according to his EHS coach, Dan Moody, and is hoping the trials will go on as scheduled.
Ellen Morris Bishop contributed to this story.