BILLINGS — Ryan Fenley is finally living his dream.
“I always told her I wanted to be the Fenley duo," the Harlowton senior said. "I wanted to do that last year as a freshman and junior.”
After having to honor the family name all by himself as a freshman and sophomore, Ryan couldn’t wait for younger sister Samantha to join him on Harlo's track and field team last year. Then there was no last year. But she showed up in a hurry this season.
“Honestly, I’m impressed. I’m really proud with how far I’ve come," Samantha said of her foray into high school. "I’m excited to see what I can do.”
No one is prouder, though, than big brother.
“I like to say I’m one of her biggest fans," Ryan said. "I’m always cheering and yelling at her. People see it as kind of mean sometimes, but we know it’s not.”
“He’s probably my best friend, he’s one of my biggest supporters," Samantha added. "Any time I’m running, I can hear him screaming at me, ‘Go, go! Get her, get her!’”
That is, if he’s not drowned out by their *other* biggest fan.
"Everybody knows who Mama Fenley is in the whole conference," Ryan said of the siblings' famously vocal mother. "She’s yelling for everybody, too -- it’s not just us. I mean, for us it’s a little louder.”
Mama Fenley will be a busy woman this weekend. Ryan and Sam have qualified for five events each at the State C track and field meet in Missoula. They specialize in distance running, with both in the top 10 in the 1,600 meters and top five in the 800 meters.
It begs the question: How much of that healthy competition will kick in?
“We make a lot of jokes about who can get the most points, but he’s my biggest supporter. I look up to him, I try to be him," Samantha said. "Except I’m never going to be able to run the mile and two-mile in a day."
“I’ve always known she could do it," Ryan corrected. "I love my sister, but she’s so young right now that pace work isn’t her thing yet. When people are there, she runs well -- when she has competition."
That won't be a problem this time.