Concha-Foleys become first brother-sister combo to win Tribune awards
The Northern 2A football league is fortunate that Isabel Concha-Foley can’t fit football into her three-sport regimen at Whittell High School.
If the junior wasn’t locked into playing volleyball in the fall, she’d be willing to give it a try. After what she’s accomplished on the volleyball and basketball courts and in the field events in track in 2008-09, she’d likely make a name for herself.
“The way she throws the football around, the boys would easily accept her as their quarterback,” said Whittell basketball coach Tom Esposito. “She has the best arm in the school now that her brother (Roberto) has graduated.”
Concha-Foley was selected to the league first team in volleyball and basketball and placed third at state in two track and field events. Her success in three sports convinced the Tahoe Daily Tribune to select her as the female athlete of the year for Whittell High School.
“She accepts the challenge and is dedicated,” Esposito said. “Her work ethic is great. If something isn’t working, she’ll make the adjustment needed.”
With brother Roberto being named the Tribune’s male athlete of the year for the school, the Concha-Foleys are the first sister-brother combination to win the awards.
No fear in being different
A prime example of her dedication was when Esposito convinced Concha-Foley to shoot her free throws underhanded. Concha-Foley eventually became very consistent at the line, making teams pay for fouling her close to the basket.
“She wanted to succeed. She didn’t care how it went in,” Esposito said.
Concha-Foley nearly led the Warriors to an unexpected berth into the state basketball tournament. Behind Concha-Foley’s powerful inside play, the Warriors upset Battle Mountain 48-41 in a first-round regional game, then led top-seeded Incline in the regional semifinals by eight points at halftime before losing 28-25.
“It was demoralizing when we lost to Incline, but I’m so glad that we made it that far,” Concha-Foley said. “It’s motivation for next season because we didn’t make it to state.”
She went on to become a first-team Northern 2A League selection and a second-team All-Sierra Nevada team choice. Concha-Foley averaged double figures in points and rebounds. A consistent double-double performer throughout the season, Concha-Foley averaged 12.5 rebounds and 11.5 points per game.
Putting hay in the barn
Esposito has seen Concha-Foley progress in the offseason. She consistently plays pickup ball at Kahle Community Center and has been a consistent presence in the weight room.
“She is going to be impossible to defend,” Esposito said. “I try to defend her, but she is a very strong girl. She is going to be the toughest in the league by far, and I think she would be the same if she was at a 4A school. She has perfected a few low-post moves, so teams will have to triple-team her.”
Best of times in 2008-09
In the fall, Concha-Foley was a key member of the Warriors’ sixth straight state volleyball championship. It was a championship that the whole team felt a part of.
“It was definitely one of the best experiences,” she said. “I felt this year we won it together. We all just worked together.”
In a come-from-behind championship win over Lincoln County, Concha-Foley delivered 24 kills and four blocks.
She was named to the state first team and was chosen to the Northern 2A League first team. In addition, she received honorable mention on the All-Sierra Nevada team.
“Nobody could stop her firepower. She was bombing balls,” volleyball coach Tony Fathergill said last fall. “And she’s a great kid to work with.”
In the spring, she finished third in the state meet in discus and shot put as the Warriors finished runner-up to Incline in the team standings, a week after taking regionals.
Looking toward the future
A year away from graduating, Concha-Foley knows what she wants to pursue in college.
“I’d really like to play sports in college if I get the opportunity,” she said. “I’d like to go into the English field and go into writing.”
But don’t count on her competition getting a read on how to stop her next year.
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