Siblings provide Whittell High with more than victories |

Siblings provide Whittell High with more than victories

Rachael McCoy, Special to the Tahoe Daily Tribune

Zephyr Cove is home to dynamic sibling duo, Roberto and Isabel Concha-Foley. Not only are Roberto and Isabel key, driving forces for Whittell High School’s athletic program, they epitomize every mother, coach’s and friend’s dream.

With hard work, dedication and loving support from family and friends, they have managed to mold themselves into two incredibly well-rounded teenagers.

Roberto, 18, finished his senior football season last fall and also participates on the track and field team. The 17-year-old Isabel is a junior and plays volleyball, basketball and also participates on the track and field squad. Along with their busy athletic schedules, Roberto and Isabel still manage to take part in other activities and maintain stellar GPAs at school.

Roberto is an ambassador for the Safe School program, monitoring Whittell’s halls against bullies and also is part of the National Honor Society. Isabel is a member of the leadership program, offering community service both in and outside of school, as well as being part of Club Volleyball.

Roberto and Isabel’s mother, Lisa Foley, works at the Lake Tahoe Community College as the library director. She has been a single mother since her divorce in 2001 from Roberto and Isabel’s father, Edgar Concha. Foley said she supports Roberto and Isabel in all of their endeavors.

“They give back in a lot of ways and make being a mom a lot of fun,” Foley said.

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Despite being a single mother, Foley says she still makes time to be there for both Roberto and Isabel.

“One day I drove from Isabel’s (regional) volleyball game in Lovelock all the way to Roberto’s (playoff) football game in Battle Mountain,” she said. “I have to time it just right, but I always make sure to be there.”

Foley said she also makes sure to always bring neighbors who are all very supportive, so that the players have more fans, making the games even more special.

Roberto and Isabel said they are grateful to have such a caring and dedicated mother.

“She is definitely really supportive,” Isabel said. “Every day she asks about our practices and always makes sure she knows what’s going on in our lives.”

Roberto shares the same feelings about his mother.

“My mom is really protective, but she knows I love to play football, so she puts that before anything else,” he said.

The siblings share a deep commitment and love for their family. Both of their strongest athletic inspirations stem from family.

Much of Roberto’s family inspiration comes from his father, Edgar Concha. Concha is from Columbia and moving to the United States offered new experiences, including the game of football. Roberto said that he and his father shared the learning experience together when it came to football.

“We both started together from the bottom, putting in a lot of hours working on the game,” Roberto said. “Having him at my games is special. I feel like I am playing for him, not just for myself, because he put in just as much effort as I did.”

Concha lives in Sparks and is an ESL teacher at Truckee Meadows Community College. Foley said that because he is unable to be as present in Roberto and Isabel’s lives as the mother is, they feel that their time with him is very special.

Isabel’s strongest athletic inspiration also stems from family ” her older brother.

“He stands out compared to others,” she said. “He works so hard, even in the offseason, and is so committed. He makes me want to be better at what I do.”

Roberto and Isabel’s friends can also attest to their vibrant nature. Austyn Herrera, 16, has been friends with Isabel and Roberto since she and Isabel were in kindergarten together. She has been playing volleyball at Whittell with Isabel for three years.

“Isabel is an amazing athlete and a wonderful friend,” Herrera said. “You’d definitely recognize if she wasn’t around.”

Robben Charles, 17, is another friend of both siblings. Although he has only known Roberto for a year and Isabel for two years, they have impressed him.

“I think it’s unique that two siblings can be the best at their sport and still be humble about it,” Charles said. “They are dedicated, funny and great friends to have.”

This school year, Roberto and Isabel both led their athletic teams to many special victories. Roberto, as quarterback, led his football team to six wins and a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Along with contributing to one of the most successful seasons Whittell football has seen in many years, Roberto was named the Northern 2A League MVP and Nevada 2A State Offensive Player of the Year. He was also selected as one of the top senior players in Northern Nevada to participate in the Sertoma Classic in June.

Like Roberto, Isabel shared an exciting season with her volleyball teammates. The Warriors won their sixth straight state championship.

“Winning state was an amazing feeling,” Isabel said. “We all worked together and really made it great.”

Even their coaches have nothing but positive remarks in regards to their athletic as well as their personal natures.

David Atherton coached both Roberto and Isabel in track and field last year and was head football coach this past season. He said he was thrilled about Roberto receiving the awards.

“To get MVP is the biggest honor, and he deserved it,” Atherton said. “The decision from all of the coaches was unanimous.”

As quarterback, Atherton said that Roberto exhibits a lot of leadership on the field. Not only is he the most important vocal connection between coach and teammates during the game, he leads nonstop by example.

“He’s so talented, and the younger kids look up to him and respect him,” Atherton said.

Tony Fathergill, Isabel’s volleyball coach, made it clear that Isabel was a key component to the team taking another state title in November.

“She gives it her all and works really hard,” Fathergill said. “She takes care of the volleyball and is competitive but still knows how to have fun.”

Roberto and Isabel are what some might call the ultimate student-athletes. They work hard, play hard and do it all with poise and good manners.

“They make coaching fun and beautiful,” Atherton said. “If I could have a team of Robertos and Isabels, I would be in heaven.”

” Rachael McCoy is a senior journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno.