ANAMOSA — Olivia Loy is a deep thinker. A hard sleeper. An artist.
She’s a military wife. An 18-year-old girl with some baggage.
Get her on the track, and she’s something completely different.
She’s a natural.
“I remember, she was 4 years old and we were on a bike trail,” recalled her mother, Venita Loy. “She was tired of pumping her little legs, so she got off and started running.
“Her form was perfect.”
Anamosa High School girls’ track coach Phil Kauder first learned of Loy’s potential when she was a seventh-grader.
“Our middle-school coach said, after a couple meets, ‘You’ve got to keep an eye on this kid. She’s a natural,’” Kauder said. “She was running a hand-timed 12.9 in the 100 then.”
Loy’s high school career comes to a close this weekend at Drake Stadium. Already a 10-time state placewinner, she’s entered in the Class 3A 100-, 200- and 400-meter races and will anchor the sprint medley relay.
Last year, she became the first Anamosa girl to win an individual state title, capturing the 200 and 400, and blistered a 55.2-second anchor to bring the Raiders from behind in the sprint medley.
Loy owns five school records (breaking her mother’s mark in the 400) and has won 10 Wamac Conference titles.
She’s a natural. But she’s not perfect.
Only once has she been eligible at the beginning of the track season. As a freshman, she was academically ineligible. As a sophomore, she broke the school’s good-conduct policy. Grades were an issue again earlier this season.
“School is harder for her than it is for some other people,” her mother said.
Loy missed the first 14 practices this season, but eventually worked herself into shape.
Naturals can do that.
“There was a little doubt in my mind that I could get back,” Loy said. “But I pulled through, and I’m where I want to be.”
Loy won four titles at the Wamac meet May 8 at Van Horne. She swept the 100, 200 and 400 at the regional meet, and figures to be a threat at state in all four events.
Loy is a quiet girl who loves to draw — “She opens up sometimes,” her mother said. “She’s a deep thinker. She doesn’t get caught up in drama” — and polite.
Rest is as important to her as training.
“She’ll fall asleep on the bus or go crash at our camp site when we get to a meet,” said her older sister, Becca Loy, a volunteer assistant coach.
Jewelry is not allowed at the state meet. But at practice Tuesday, Loy’s left ring finger sparkled. An outsider complimented her on her wedding ring. She beamed while she rotated it, the stones reflected the sunlight.
Loy met Troy Stumpf (a 2012 Monticello graduate) a couple years ago. They hit it off.
He presented her with the ring last Sept. 27, his 20th birthday. She accepted the proposal, and they were married Jan. 17 at the Jones County Courthouse in front of family and friends.
Stumpf is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, D.C. Loy (who has kept her maiden name, for now) plans to join him soon.
In the fall, she’ll enroll at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., and compete in track.
“They specialize in helping kids make the transition, getting their grades set,” Venita said.
Loy parents divorced when she was young. She lives with her mother, and remains close to her father, Jerry.
Her rock, though, is Becca, a 2010 Anamosa grad.
“She’s my mother hen,” Olivia said. “She’s my friend.”
Becca said she joined the Raiders’ staff “for Olivia. She kind of keeps to herself, and sometimes needs a little extra oomph.
“I don’t think she knows what her potential is, how good she could be.”
Becca was asked if the following statement was fair:
That Olivia is successful, sometimes in spite of herself.
“Absolutely,” she said, then smiled and added: “She’s a natural.”
Olivia said her next chapter — college and a husband, nearly 1,000 miles away from Anamosa — will “definitely be a challenge. It’s going to take some getting used to.”
After a year or two of junior college, she hopes to attend the University of Maryland and run for the Terrapins.
Her mercurial life could take one of numerous directions. Kauder is rooting for the best.
“Under the right circumstances, Olivia could be incredibly successful,” he said. “She’s the most gifted sprinter I’ve ever worked with.
“When she turns it on, she’s a dangerous weapon. I’ve only scratched the surface with her.”
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