Amanda Foley is a Whitefish track legacy whose mom, Sallie, held the school’s long jump record for two decades.
Growing up, she watched quite a few Bulldog stars – Courtney and Ashley Ferda come to mind – tear up quite a few tracks, and now she’s a burner: On April 24 she ran the 100 meters in 12.51 seconds, breaking Courtney Ferda’s school- and Pilcher Top Ten-record of 12.54, set in 2004.
Ever-improving marks have allowed her to pursue a dream: Running for the Montana Grizzlies.
“I filled out a questionnaire with my best times just hoping they’d be interested,” she said. “That was last year, but then I started emailing the coach and giving him updates. At first it was, ‘We definitely have a spot on the roster, but we want you to walk on.’ After the Top 10 meet they started getting a little more interested.”
The turning point came, she said, when she told them Carroll College was on her trail.
“As soon as I told (head coach Brian Schweyen) that, he was like, ‘All right, we can offer you a 10 percent scholarship.’ And I always wanted to go there anyway. Getting a little incentive – being wanted on their team – I was like, ‘OK.’”
First Foley, who ran in the Northwestern A Divisional this past weekend, has to wind up a stellar prep career. She and teammate Marlow Schulz could lead the Bulldogs to their first state title since 1998.
Q. Your coach, Derek Schulz (Marlow’s dad), says you’ve never missed a practice. Is this true?
A. I don’t think I have. We were talking about that the other day, and I was trying to think back. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been there because track is something I’ve always loved to do.
Q. Did you grow up watching the Bulldogs at track meets?
A. Definitely. I moved here in second grade, and my mom was a track athlete at Whitefish, so we’d go to the meets, and I remember watching the Ferdas and all those good people and wanting to do what they were doing.
Q. Schulz said he saw a change in you after your sophomore year. What happened?
A. My freshman year there were a few seniors I looked up to, but after that there wasn’t as much of a team aspect. When Marlow Schulz joined the team, that was definitely a turning point. We had this meet in Bigfork, and we won it and at the end we got a trophy. I remember Marlow running up and being so excited and we realized how good the team could be. That pushed me even harder to do all I could for both of us and to help the team win.
Q. What do you think of having qualifying standards in Class A?
A. I really like it, actually. It’s given me a goal to work toward from the very beginning of the season. I like how both Marlow and I have been able to qualify in both relays and can do even more at state. We’re both doing five individual events at divisionals and at state. And it was a good feeling every time I qualified.
Q. Talk about breaking the school’s 100 record.
A. I’ve been seeing that record up there for years, and I thought there’s no way that will ever be beaten. But I just felt really good that day and everything went right for me. That’s probably one of my best track memories. I got my time when I crossed the finish line, and I was like, “What?” It was such a big meet and all the best athletes have been going there for years. It was definitely a surprise, but it was awesome.
Q. It sounds like your fifth individual event will be the long jump. Do you like it?
A. I’ve never done it before this year. Everyone was talking about where we could possibly get points at state. I tried high jump at a random meet, and cleared like 4-6. I tried the 100 hurdles, which didn’t work out very well. I didn’t know how to three-step and it wasn’t good. Then I tried the long jump and finished second at a meet. In that event I think it just depends on the day. You can have an awesome jump.
Q. Corvallis has an extremely talented girls’ team, so what’s the goal this week?
A. We want to win so bad. We know they’re really amazing. They have so much talent. That’s going to take a lot of things going right for it to happen, but we’re throwing everything in there that we can. We’re just hoping everything goes our way when it matters most. Having a state championship to end my career is my biggest dream. Any type of win would be fantastic, but an overall win would be awesome.