Ashton Doll is part of an exclusive, yet fading group of athletes, in league with Bo Jackson, Jim Thorpe and Deion Sanders.
The 6′ 3″ senior from Lancaster, Wisconsin is a dual sport athlete. While she currently anchors the volleyball team’s front line, you also might have seen her participating in high jump for the school’s track team in spring. One might wonder: How high can Doll set the Bar?
Coming in as a freshman, Doll wasn’t as laser focused as she is now. “I didn’t come into college thinking ‘I’m gonna be a dual sport athlete,’ I thought I was just going to be a regular college student.”
However, once she arrived in Whitewater, she couldn’t take the thought of not participating in track.
“I came here for volleyball, and the announcer for volleyball was the high jump coach,” said Doll. “We always talked about me doing track, and it became a thing. I was like ‘Oh I could actually do track here, I miss track.’ I would watch them have practices, and get goosebumps from missing practice. I was like ‘I gotta do it.’”
Joining the track team didn’t seem to take away from her performances on the volleyball court. While the rest of the team was doing off-season training programs, Doll decided to forgo rest and keep working hard. In fact, she didn’t even skip the off-season volleyball program.
“During volleyball season, I don’t have track. But during track, I have volleyball and track,” she said. This system seems to work for assistant coach Keith Scheckel as well.
He said, “We do accommodate her as a dual athlete when we’re out of season. In season, she hasn’t requested any accommodation for track, she’s been focused on volleyball in season.”
Doll has a locker full of accolades from her seven seasons in the UW-W athletic department, including first team All-WIAC and honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Midwest Region from 2018. “You’ve gotta seriously have some good time management skills, stress management skills, and everything that goes along with handling that workload,” said Scheckel.
“She’s graduating in 3.5 years, which is amazing for her. She works hard, she has internships, she seems like she’s always got something going on.”
Doll also won NSCA All-America in Strength and Conditioning last season in the multi-sport category, a title awarded to only two other athletes in the country.
“Her dedication to strength and conditioning has allowed her to excel as an athlete,” said Lee Munger, UW-W’s Director of Sports Performance in presentation of the award.
While all workouts are sport specific, Doll found out that doing high jump wasn’t a bad compliment to the heavy jumping volume required of a middle hitter.
“Last year, I would do two sets of half-hour arm work, wrist work, hitting. I wouldn’t jump because I jumped in high jump so that was my jumping for volleyball. It worked well together.”
Doll credits UW-W’s dedication to their athletes as a major factor in her success.
“At a bigger school I don’t know if that would be possible – if I would be able to do two sports,” she said. “It was a positive that it all happened the way it did.”
She’s also enjoyed the strong tradition for athletic excellence.
“Here, I feel like I succeed,” she said. “I’m happy I stuck with a smaller school.”
With guidance provided by head coach Stacy Boudreau, Doll has reached and even exceeded expectations.
“On the court, she is performing the best she has in 4 years,” said Boudreau, who has experience participating as a dual sport athlete. In fact, Boudreau also participated in volleyball and track in her own college days at Iowa Wesleyan, and was an All-American in both sports.
“I definitely understand the demands of it.” said the coach.
Boudreau went on to praise Doll, saying: “She’s probably, honestly, one of the most dominant players in the country.” This point has been echoed by opposing coaches all season.
“The best way to beat her is to make sure the ball doesn’t get in her hands,” said UW-Platteville’s head coach, Sam Birkicht after the Pioneers played the ‘Hawks on Wednesday Oct. 9. “Once the ball is in her hand, she’s pretty hard to stop.”
As her career as a Warhawk athlete comes to a close, Doll will leave a hole in the Warhawk front line. Coach Scheckel summed it up perfectly. “You just can’t replace something like that, especially at DIII. We were lucky to get Ashton.”