WESTMONT — Tim Doll finished second in the state in the 400-meter dash last spring.
This spring is shaping up to be even better thanks to a year of experience and some additional offseason training.
"I used to play basketball in the winter, but this is the first year I went to Get Fast in Willowbrook, and it's been outstanding," said Doll, a Westmont junior. "That's the reason my 100 and 200 times have dropped."
Doll's offseason work was evident to head coach Rainy Kaplan when the Sentinels' indoor season began.
"He came into this season so much stronger and much more confident," Kaplan said.
During the Sentinels' outdoor season, Doll has had two individual event wins in the Lisle Mega Meet (200 and 400 dashes), Seneca (100 and 200 dashes) and, last weekend, Plano (200 and 400) invites. The 4 x 400 relay he anchors won titles at Seneca and Plano.
Bringing home an all-state finish last spring was satisfying, but so far 2013 is rivaling 2012 in terms of pure enjoyment.
"This year we're doing it more as a team. We were a young team last year and now we're a year older so we know what the outdoor season is all about," Doll said. "This year the biggest thing is how good our team has been. Maybe I do well and maybe I don't, but the team goes to every meet with the ability to win. We feel like we can compete with any team in the state."
In addition to Doll's two event wins at Plano Saturday, Michael Robertson won the 300 hurdles (42.6) and was second in the 110 hurdles and pole vault, while the 4 x 800 relay comprised of Nick Strobl, Kris Pierce, Mitch Perrotta and Danny LoGiurato won in 8:42.32.
Nate Novota had runner-up finishes in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and Westmont won the team title with 144 points, a sign of good things to come.
"We've never been successful at Plano," Kaplan said. "Last year we were sixth and that was our highest finish. The big difference Friday and this whole season has been the young guys and the No. 2 guys in each event are getting it done for us.
"And these guys are all such good friends on and off the track. If someone has a bad day they want to pick up the slack. They're invested in each other."
The Sentinels still have three big invites left on the schedule: Chicago Christian (Friday), the Lisle Carlin Nalley Invite (May 4) and the Interstate Eight Conference meet (May 9). The clear-cut goal for Doll and his teammates is to win every meet from here on out.
"I wish I could say we were taking it one step at a time, but we're not," Doll said. "Our goal this spring is to finish top five at state. Leo is a powerhouse and they're in our sectional, so our goal is to compete with them and beat them at the sectional.
"State and sectionals are our most prevalent goals. Guys have been downstate before and know what it takes to compete down there. The end of the season is what it's all about."