GIRLS TRACK & FIELD

Meeting athletic challenges a familiar Foy story

2013-04-16T18:00:00Z 2014-08-13T20:39:20Z Meeting athletic challenges a familiar Foy storyBy Phil Arvia Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 16, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

The 300-meter hurdles might be the most pain-fraught event run at a high school track meet. Requiring a sprinter's speed, a distance runner's stamina and field event devotee's attention to technique, it is not an event for which many coaches have volunteers.

Let alone freshmen volunteers — stepping up in late April, track crunch time, no less.

But that was what Willie Cole had last season. The Crete-Monee coach swiftly declined the offer, saying it came "much too late in the season."

So, who would do such a thing?

"Somebody who's insane," Cole said, laughing. "There's nothing easy about it."

Nothing easy unless, perhaps, you're a Foy.

Tenija Foy comes from a family familiar with defying convention. Older sisters Mi'a and Te'ja, respectively, are competing collegiately in swimming and cross country. Milea, a Crete-Monee junior, is a standout soccer player.

Then there's dad, Mike Foy. The 1980 Thornwood graduate was a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team (1988 and 1992), and since returning to the south suburbs in 2002 has authored a feat of undeniable entrepreneurial courage.

In 2008, he bought Glenwood's venerable Dragon Inn Restaurant, and in 2009 moved it from the location it had occupied for 46 years.

"Courage? Or coercion?" Mike Foy said. "It was a hard situation for everyone there. We were kind of forced."

Regardless, Dragon Inn is now in Chicago Heights, with plans on the board for a Lansing location.

And yes, Tenija Foy is now a hurdler.

On Saturday, the sophomore finished third at the Homewood-Flossmoor Invitational, her time of 51.24 seconds one of the top 20 in the state thus far this season, according to athletic.net. Not bad for a runner in just her second outdoor meet, and first competing in a heat with the fastest runners.

"She's tough," Cole said. "You've got to be tough to want to run hurdles."

Toughness never entered the equation as far as Tenija was concerned. Last season, she merely watched an older Crete-Monee runner practicing the hurdles.

"It looked like it was fun to do," she said, "but I have a different mind than anyone else, I guess."

Her father couldn't agree more.

"I learned a long time ago, it's all about desire," he said. "I can't have the desire for them."

That said, he conceded he recognized her gift for running at an early age.

"Ever since she was able to run, she was running like a wheel rolls — so smooth," he said. "She has a gift. I can't take any credit for it."

Her early, natural speed has been augmented by running cross country and, in track, the 400 meters and 1,600-meter relay. In the relay, Foy and two other Warrior runners are back from the quartet that finished sixth in state last season.

"She has a measure of speed, and her stride is naturally long," Cole said. "She's a natural 400 runner, so strength-wise she can handle the hurdles."

Apparently. Although Tenija has clipped a hurdle or two, she's never fallen.

Then again, falling has never been an issue.

"My dad says once I started walking I never fell," she said.

It seems she's not planning on falling short as a hurdler, either. Though she's still got some work to do to reach the 46.94 automatic qualifying standard for state, based on her times now Cole says Tenija has a good chance to advance out of Crete-Monee's sectional with a top-two finish.

Her gaze might go beyond state.

"Just the other day we were talking about the Olympics — she asked me a little bit about the Olympics and how it affects me that there may not be wrestling in the next one," Mike Foy said. "I asked her if she was thinking about the Olympics.

"She definitely is."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which local girls volleyball regional qualifier will most likely reach state?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses