MEDFORD, Ore. — On April 19th at the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Halley Folsom gave the 800 meter run a try. She had raced the 800 once before and won, but this was not Halley’s main event.
“We knew she had impact, but we just didn’t realize how impactful she would be, and we definitely didn’t know what she would do in the 800,” said head coach Pieter Voskes.
What she did was break a nearly 20 year old school record. She hasn’t run the 800 since. The 800 is one of seven different events that Folsom is learning to master.
“I would like to be a heptathlete in college, and so we’re kind of using every year to introduce me to new events so that I can get there,” said Folsom.
The heptathlon features events ranging from throwing to jumping to running to hurdles. While she’s still working on some of the specific heptathlon events, Folsom already features all styles.
“Her primary event, the intermediate hurdles, it shows her athleticsm, but it’s not a heptathlon event and so we needed to diversify her,” said Voskes. “She bought in, and the next step is to not only do it but to get her the proper training in each event, and she’s listened to every coach. She spends extra time in every event area, and she just thrives with whatever we throw at her.”
“I feel really blessed to have the talent to be able to do multiple events and to be able to pick them up quickly,” said Folsom. “That’s something that I feel like I can do. That’s why I want to specialize in being a heptathlete, and so I think it’s important to be able to do more than one thing.”
Folsom already owns two school records, ranks second all-time in two others and is in the top ten of her district in six different events.
“Kids like that just don’t come through very often,” said Voskes. “She’s her own version of Jackie Joyner-Kersey or Jim Thorpe. She’s talented in every place you put her.”
She has a natural athleticism, but it’s not surprising when you look at her family. She was one brother who played baseball at Oregon St. and another who played football at BYU.
“Our family culture is just working hard,” said Folsom. “That’s our thing. We like to do it for fun. So they influenced me more on just working hard and your time out here is spent well not wasting it.”
With Halley, there isn’t a moment wasted.
“You could make the argument at this point she’s one of the finest athletes to ever come out of North Medford High School,” said Voskes.