Denton senior Lavandis Douglas has set some lofty goals for his upcoming collegiate track season, and his limited time competing in the long jump isn't going to keep him from aiming high.
Over the weekend, Douglas officially committed to North Texas, and with workouts starting in June, he said he can't wait to get started.
"I have a mark I want to achieve," said Douglas, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Los Angeles. "It's kind of steep, but I feel like with the coaching staff and continuous work, it can be achieved. I want to jump 25.6 [feet] in my freshman year. That's the mark I have in my head. I want to contribute to the team as a freshman, hold my own and show I belong here. I've been slept on a lot. I'm ready to arrive."
Douglas, who also played safety for Denton's varsity football team for two years, originally started as a sprinter and began competing the long jump a year and a half ago.
His personal best is 23 feet, 7 3/4 inches, but he was limited this season with a hamstring injury.
Still, Douglas, who had an offer from Texas State and was talking to Colorado and North Carolina before committing to North Texas, feels as if he is in a great spot to make the leap to much better results.
"My high school season didn't go to plan," Douglas said. "I'm really eager to get in the weight room and develop more. My mark has to be more consistent and better technique. Because I'm so new, I have a lot that I can learn. That's really my selling point. I'm still new and I'm like a sponge, just absorbing everything right now."
Denton coach Lonnie Teagle knows of Douglas' aspirations and said he thinks Douglas will fit right in at North Texas.
"He's driven by success," Teagle said. "His expectations for himself are very high. He feels like others don't give him those same expectations. He wants to be the best. He wants to be a top Division I type guy, and that's what's driving him to go be at UNT and compete and give himself an opportunity to be that guy.
"It's a great program that is growing and building. They have good coaching, and it's going to allow him to develop. If he puts four years into with the natural talent he has, he could be special."
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.