Great Bend High School’s Selam Ball has vaulted herself straight to a college team.
Ball has signed to pole vault for the Fort Hays State University track and field team.
Ball said there were a few schools looking into getting her on their team, but Fort Hays State felt like the best fit for her future.
“I had a lot of smaller schools that were interested in me,” Ball said. “I looked into them, but at the same time, I was thinking of my education because that’s what I want to focus on in college, and I want to go to be a dentist. I visited Hays and when I visited there, they have a good pre-dental program that’s a bio-chem program that I want to do.
“It was a good fit for pole vault, track and academic as well. That’s the important thing.”
For now, Ball is just looking to improve in her senior season.
“I’m excited, but just taking it step-by-step,” Ball said. “The first step, hopefully I’ll be able to break the school record. Over the winter, I was actually able to jump 11 feet, which is a foot higher than my (personal best) from last year, but that’s indoors, which is different.
“First, I’d like to get 10-6, which 10 is my best outdoors. Then from there, go work inch-by-inch and get at least 11-6 this year. I have a competitor at (Class) 5A who is going to come back and she’s jumping right now 11-1, so we’re really neck-in-neck and I need to jump a little higher for some assurance at state.”
Ball has been to the Class 6-1A State Track and Field Championships all three years so far.
Her top finish is sixth place, clearing 10 feet last year.
The school record is 10-6, which she’ll need to beat during one of this season’s track meets. She got her first chance on Saturday at a meet at Fort Hays State.
Her coaches feel she’s very deserving of a chance to continue her vaulting career.
“She’s worked hard all year,” said Brett Middleton, who is an assistant track and field coach at Great Bend that works with pole vaulters. “Not just track season, but all the time. She’s a good kid, works hard all the time and continues to get better.
“I’m glad to see her taking it further in college. Hopefully, it’ll help her get an education and I fell confident that she’ll improve and look to push the record here at Great Bend High School this year. I look forward to seeing big things from her in the future.”
Ball will be trying to make it four straight trips to state in May.
“I look forward to seeing her at the state track meet again this year,” Middleton said. “I’m sure she’ll do well.”
After that, she’ll get the chance to compete at the next level.
“That would be so much fun,” Ball said. “I’d love to compete in college and being able to do a college sport, I would be able to meet a lot of new people and open up new opportunities for me.”