May 27, 2004
By Michael C. Lewis
Link to Salt Lake Tribune feature
Both of her coaches are sure that if Utah's Amanda Feigt would just pick one sport -- soccer or track -- and concentrate on it exclusively, she could enjoy an absolutely tremendous college career.
"But I just don't want to," she said.
Choose one, she means.
To Feigt, the possibility of a little more success in either sport isn't enough to dump the other -- especially when both are working out so well. Though she's just a freshman and has split her training time between her two favorite-but-contrasting sports, the former Jordan High star has been enjoying one sensational year.
She was named the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year in soccer after helping lead the Utes to a 16-2-2 record, a conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament last fall, and now she's trying to qualify for the NCAA Track & Field Championships in the long jump.
Along with nearly a dozen of her teammates and many others from Utah schools, Feigt will compete at the NCAA West Regional at Cal State Northridge on Friday and Saturday, hoping to finish high enough to earn a spot in the national meet next month in Austin, Texas.
The top five finishers in each event automatically qualify for nationals, so Feigt figures she's going to have to set a personal-best if she wants to advance. She ranks 13th in the region with a mark of 19 feet, 9 inches -- but five competitors are bunched within only about two inches ahead of her, and one big jump could vault her into the top group.
"It's possible," she said.
Feigt already has surprised herself with her exploits, far surpassing what she expected in her first year of college. Aside from improving many of the technical aspects of her soccer game, she set personal records in track after a standout prep career that was equal parts successful and disappointing.
One of the brightest stars in Utah prep sports in recent years, Feigt never quite lived up to what she expected of herself.
She was a budding star as a freshman and sophomore, and she expected to do well as an upperclassman. But a knee injury sidetracked her junior year -- she tore knee ligaments right before the state soccer tournament -- and "confidence issues" hampered her senior year.
"I was putting so much pressure on myself, I just made everything worse," she said.
In short, Feigt expected she should win everything she tried, and grew angry with herself if she did not. As a result, she never did win a state title -- though she did finish in the top five of four events at last year's Class 5-A championship track meet -- and wound up in a huge argument with a close friend.
"I needed it," she says now.
Feigt said the argument helped her realize that there was more to sports than winning. "I was always worried about who was ahead of me," she said. Now, she understands that "there is always going to be someone better than me."
So, while she still gets nervous before matches and meets, Feigt no longer obsesses about wins and losses.
She enjoys soccer for the team atmosphere and the energy that surrounds the matches, and loves track for the more "peaceful" and "relaxed" environment that allows her to stand out on her own -- even if she still hasn't completely remedied for track the side-to-side "soccer arms" that track coach Lisa Archer jokes Feigt brought over from the soccer pitch.
"I regret a lot of things about high school, the way I pushed myself," Feigt said. "But I'm like 300 times better now than I was in high school. I never get angry with myself."
And it's working out pretty well, so far.