To say that Great Bend High School junior Kaylie Doll came out of left field when she qualified for the Class 5A portion of the 6-1A state track and field championships might be an understatement.
Of course, for the softball player-turned-triple jumper, it could also be taken literally.
However, Doll’s jump of 36 feet. three and three-quarter inches to win a regional championship on Friday in Salina didn’t surprise everybody. Great Bend head coach Bo Black said he was expecting big things from Doll.
“Quite honestly, yes,” Black said. “She’s done that before. We knew that she’d improved. Really, she’d jumped 35-11 at the JV track meet, so she went four inches farther. I think it would be scary what she could do if she was a full-time track athlete.
“She’s just that good at that event.”
Doll, who will be competing at 4:45 on Friday at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium, had only one meet under her belt before competing at the regional meet, a junior varsity meet at Hutchinson.
Doll said that she had hoped to get back into track. She finished fifth at the state meet as a freshman with a jump of 35-8 1/2.
“I did my freshman year, and I really enjoyed it,” Doll said. “I always keep a tab on how people are jumping, and I went out to watch my cousin jump. That really motivated me to come talk to Coach Black and see if there was any way for me to make it happen.”
It was just before the JV meet that she confronted Black about competing.
“Right before that JV meet, we decided to go and try it out,” Doll said of her and her sister, Kelsie, “to see if that was something that we could make it to state in. We knew that if it didn’t work out in softball that this was something we’d definitely do. Also, if softball did end up working, maybe we could see if we could go to regionals.
“It’s tough with both state (softball and track) happening in the same week.”
Black was all for it.
“Any time we can get those Doll girls involved in what we’re doing,” Black said. “It’s been tough the last two years. Both of them came out and did some part-time track as freshmen. Last year, they sat out.
“They practiced for a couple weeks, just hoping they’d get an opportunity, and we were able to take them to one JV meet that didn’t interfere with softball.”
Now, Doll has punched her ticket for the state meet once again, and she has her eyes set on a medal.
“I’m really hoping to get on the podium somewhere,” Doll said. “I’ve been working on it pretty hard, and if I don’t make it on there, I’ll be pretty disappointed. I’m going to try my best and push myself.”