Ricky Foley completed his final high school track event back on May 10 when he ran in the 1600-meter relay at the Class 3A, Region 7 Championships.
That doesn’t mean that the recent 2012 Lincoln County High School graduate has hung up his running shoes. No, the distance runner assured himself of at least four more years of competitive running by committing to run both track and cross country for Berea College.
“I’m going to do both,” Foley said. “On the paper it said you could do both or choose one and I knew I wanted to do both.”
Foley, who started out as a hurdler in track before turning to distance and mid-distance running, said he never doubted that he would run collegiately.
“I always knew I would run in college because that’s how I looked (at schools),” he said. “I¿knew I wanted to find a school where I could get an education and run, but I wasn’t sure at what college that would be until we had a college fair with the school.”
Once exposed to Berea College, Foley’s college choice was set.
“It’s just a great school,”¿Foley said. “The surroundings are great. It’s a nice quiet place with low student population.”
Foley, who plans to focus his college studies on engineering and/or mathematics, says the “low student population” was high on his priority list when researching schools.
“It will be kind of like our high school’s amount of students and that’s the size of school I was looking for,”¿he said. “I want it to be where the teachers can get to know me better and not just know my name.”
Foley, who ran both cross country and track (800, 1600, 1600 relay) in high school, will be joining running programs with a history of success, including seven straight cross country KIAC¿championships and NAIA National Championship appearances. The Mountaineer cross country runners are led by head coach Mike Johnson. The track and field men’s team is led by Dan Bryant.
By participating on both sports teams, Foley is leaving himself very little room for “off” time from running.
“It basically will be all year running,” Foley said. “You get two weeks off after the season ends but you come right back into running so you don’t get out of shape for the next season.”
Foley says he is more than willing to make the sacrifice.
“I will miss the days off but I love running and I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to be able to run,” he said.
Foley is the son of James Foley and Gidget Russell and he lives with teammate Tim Grizzell and his parents, Tena and Robert Grizzell.