Skyline sprinters have big plans for senior seasons, beyond
March 4, 2014
By Neil Pierson
There might not be a better situation for Dorie Dalzell to land in at the collegiate level, even though the school she chose wasn’t the one she thought she would.
Dalzell’s father and grandfather are University of Kansas alumni, and her boyfriend is currently attending the Division I athletics powerhouse in Lawrence, Kan. It was those factors that had her heavily leaning toward Washington, Arizona and Columbia for her running career at the next level, simply because she wanted a change of scenery.
Kansas was the last school Dalzell visited, and a motivational video she watched with the coaches cinched her decision.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Jayhawks women are the defending NCAA champions, and Dalzell will be training alongside Diamond Dixon, an Olympic gold medalist in the 4×400 relay at the 2012 London Games.
“Kansas just clicked for me,” she said. “Watching that video, that was really when I realized that was where I was supposed to be. I just loved the school — it’s so competitive.”
Before she heads to the Midwest, Dalzell has some unfinished business for her Skyline High School track and field team. A four-time state medalist in the 400 meters, 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay, she’s got her sights set on championships in those events come May.
“We definitely have some high goals this year,” she said. “I want to win state in the 400 — I really want that badly. Our 4×4 last year, we were happy with third, but I think we all thought we could’ve done better, and we all wanted to do better.”
The weight of living up to those lofty standards won’t fall solely on Dalzell’s shoulders. She’s not the only Skyline senior who has earned a Division I scholarship.
Alex Daugherty, a three-sport athlete for the Spartans (cross country, basketball, track), anchors the 800 meters, an event in which she placed seventh at state last season. She also has medals in the 400, 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay.
Daugherty had seriously considered Princeton and Washington, but eventually selected the University of Notre Dame because of its combination of quality athletics and academics.
“It had an unspoken moral code about it, because it is somewhat religious,” she noted. “I like that was part of the foundation. I think it keeps the team grounded.”
Daugherty will primarily run track for the Fighting Irish, although she likely will train in cross country and build herself up for future competition. The 2013 season was Daugherty’s first in cross country, and she impressed her coaches and teammates, finishing sixth at the bi-district meet and 27th at state.
“It was interesting to see what change your body goes through,” she said of starting cross country. “To be honest, at the beginning I was a lot more tired. It’s just a different kind of endurance, and it’s a different kind of mental strength that I’ve never had to do.”
Daugherty was actually a superb 400-meter runner as a sophomore, when she placed third at state. She continued running the 400 as a junior, but gave it up after the Class 4A KingCo Conference meet to focus on the 800. That was in spite of running a time of 57.13 seconds, which would’ve been the best in Skyline history if it weren’t for Dalzell’s 56.77.
“I wanted to be a 400 runner,” she explained. “I had success my sophomore year, and then my junior year, I realized that the 800 was not only better suited not only to my body type, but I think I did have a little bit of an endurance background. I liked to run long distance during the summer.”
While most track aficionados say the 100-meter dash is the best measure of speed, Dalzell and Daugherty think the 400 and 800 can make cases, too.
“I’m just a horrible starter, and I feel like in the 100, it’s so much about your start,” Dalzell said. “I feel like the 400 is a lot more fun to watch, too, because when you’re watching it at the Olympics, a lot more things can change. Whereas, in the 100, it’s basically whoever is out first wins the race.”
Not only do the senior sprinters think Skyline will compete for state championships this season, but they think they can add their names to the state record books. The fastest time in 4A history for the 4×400 relay is 3 minutes, 51.7 seconds, set by Lincoln 31 years ago. Skyline’s foursome of Dalzell, Daugherty, Maizy Brewer and Maria Volodkevich ran 3:54.33 last spring. Everyone but Volodkevich returns this season.
“This year, I think, Issaquah and Garfield are going to have very good 4x4s,” Dalzell said, “which is great for us and also unfortunate, because we’ll be racing them at KingCo, district and state. So, every week is going to be a big battle.”