Sophomore makes a name for herself in distance race.
By BRETT MARSHALL
WICHITA — For much of the 2013 track season, Garden City sophomore Katy Doll has been running in the shadows of her junior teammate, Alex Miller, while also watching her older sister, Kayla, become one of the premier 800-meter runners in Kansas.
Friday night, in the evening shadows of Cessna Stadium as the first day of the Kansas State Track and Field Championships were concluding, Doll made her first big splash into the distance running scene by finishing second in the Class 6A 3,200-meter run with a personal best time of 11:22.32, not quite five seconds behind winner Cameron Guelder of Olathe Northwest.
Doll's performance highlighted a day of mixed results for the Garden City High School boys and girls track teams, with other highlights including the Lady Buffs' 4x400-meter qualifying sixth in 4:08.46 and the Buffs' boys 4x100-meter relay team running the second fastest time of 43.17, still off their season best of 42.88.
The 3,200 race started just like many others had for Doll, who along with Miller, was well back in the pack of 16 runners. That wasn't anything unusual for the younger Doll.
"I just tried to tell myself to stick with my pace and not worry about the others," Katy said. "Last year (she finished 10th), they just went out so fast, and I knew they would do that again. I just tried to stay back and not run myself out. This is a mental race, and I just kept telling myself to chase down the next girl in front of me."
Halfway through the race, and then just into the fifth of eight laps, Doll finally broke through and began picking off one runner after another. By the 2,400-meter mark, with two laps remaining, Doll found herself overtaking Deidre Walker of Maize, the same girl who had beaten her in last week's regional in Dodge City.
"I just thought, 'wow, I'm in second,'" Katy said. "Then I didn't realize how close I had gotten to the girl in front. I tried to relax as much as I could. When I stress, I'm not going to do very well. It's a really good feeling."
Doll, who will run in the 1,600-meters today with Miller, said she was quickly learning to like the 3,200.
"I guess when you do well in an event, you better start liking it," Doll said with a smile.
The Buffs' ace hurdler, Jonathan DuVall, easily qualified for his two specialties — the 110 hurdles (14.03) and the 300 hurdles (38.84) — both of which were the top times to get into today's finals, where DuVall will defend his two 2012 state championships.
"I felt strong in the 110s, and I thought I did really well on those," DuVall said of the shorter race. "The 300s, I got off to a great start, but then I hit the curve coming down and the wind was just stronger than I thought."
In the last two weeks, DuVall has fine-tuned his steps, allowing him to use either leg to go over the hurdle.
"It's allowed me to keep the same lead foot for three or four hurdles, and it's been a better start," DuVall said. "I've gotten better by alternating, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Miller finished in 10th in the 3,200 with a time of 11:46.83, well off her season best of 11:30.71.
Junior Taryn Tempel had a mixed day of results, first on the upside where she qualified in the 400 meters with a personal best of 59.66, the first time she's gotten under the one-minute barrier.
"Feels good to break through that one-minute mark," Tempel said. "It's pretty exciting to finally do that."
That made up some for her tough day in the long jump, where she scratched twice and only went 15-01.50, more than two fee short of her regional win of a week ago.
Sophomore Pedro Dominguez cleared 6-0 and by virtue of fewer misses, finished eighth in the high jump.
The Lady Buffs' 4x100-meter relay team botched its handoff between Kayla Doll and McKenzie Hanigan on the second to third exchange, with the baton being dropped and the team did not finish.
Senior Jacob Thomas ran a personal best 10:07.71 in the 3,200-meters, but it was only good for an 11th-place finish. Dusty Tempel failed to make the finals in the 200-meters.
DuVall and Dusty Tempel will compete in the long jump today, along with Aaron Vasquez and Brett Cady in the pole vault. The girls and boys 4x800-meter relay teams also will be running, with the Lady Buffs in the hunt for gold as they come in with the second fastest time in Class 6A.
Kayla Doll said the season best effort by the 4x400-meter baton unit softened the earlier troubles of the 4x100.
"Not much had been going well for us at the time," Kayla said. "We're excited to be in the finals tomorrow. It kinda picked us up."