Kal Schaplow knew she was going to be a college athlete, but in what sport? Some colleges were recruiting the 2020 Toledo High School graduate to play basketball, while others wanted the multiple-sport standout in their track and field program.
Luckily for Eastern Washington University, the Eagles didn’t have a problem with her doing both.
An all-state selection and MVP of the 2B Central League during her senior basketball season, the 5-foot-10 versatile guard heads to Cheney under a scholarship for Eastern Washington’s women’s basketball program, but will also be a preferred walk-on for the Eagles track and field as a thrower, making her an extremely rare two-sport Division I athlete.
“The biggest challenge will be time management,” Kal said. “That is something most college athletes struggle with while competing in one sport. I’ll have to balance two college sports, my education, and an on-campus job.”
On the basketball court, Kal averaged 17 points and five rebounds a contest to lead the Indians to the Class 2B state tournament. She was just as dominant in track where she captured the state championship in the javelin as a junior in 2019 with a throw of 124 feet, 2 inches. She is also the school record holder (136’ 9) in the event.
“I’m excited to be a part of the team environment that (EWU head women’s basketball) coach (Wendy) Schuller and (associate) coach (Bryce) Currie have built with the women’s basketball team. I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to throw at such a high level and learn from (EWU head women’s track and field) coach (Marcia) Mecklenburg. As a student, I’m looking forward to studying physical education because they have an amazing program,” Kal said. “Eastern seemed like the best fit for my college experience as an athlete who wanted to push myself and as a student through their physical education program.”
Kal, however, will not be the only family member heading to Eastern Washington for college as her brother, Duke, who was also a three-sport standout at Toledo, will also be an incoming freshman.
“At first it looked like we weren’t going to be at the same college, but when we both realized that Eastern could be an option for both of us and that we could possibly live off campus together, it pushed Eastern to the top of both of our lists,” Kal said. “We’ve been in almost all of the same classes for the last 13 years, and he’s been my best friend, so it’s going to be a very easy transition to college life.”
According to Duke, once Kal signed her letter of intent to become an Eagle, he wasted little time deciding on where he wanted to attend college as well.
So, what type of athlete are the Eagles getting in Kal?
“Eastern is getting a strong and physical player,” Duke said. “Her work ethic impresses me the most. She gets up early every day, no matter what, and works out.”
That continued to be the case over the summer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really rough not being able to compete in track because both of us had big post-season goals. We continued our normal track and meet day schedule throughout quarantine and competed against each other,” Kal said. “We’ve kept up our weight training schedule, and I’ve been getting a lot of extra shots and basketball work in. Eastern has recently given us great strength workouts and drills too to get us ready for the upcoming season. The hardest part about not having sports has been not having a basketball team or games to look forward to and prepare for. For the last six years, I have played basketball year-round and always had a team to compete and practice with.”
While Kal was winning her state title in 2019 in the javelin at the 2B state track and field championships, Duke was helping the Indians’ 4×100 relay place second. Before the season was ultimately canceled, hopes were certainly high for a relay state title in 2020 as the team was welcoming back three-fourths of its members in Duke and fellow seniors Jacob Butcher and Miguel Soto. The trio also teamed up with Braden Bramhall to place fifth in the event in 2018.
Kal and Duke become the second generation of their family to attend Eastern Washington University, following in their footsteps of their father, Don, who coached both in track at Toledo.
As for Duke, who played quarterback for Toledo and was a first-team all-league linebacker last season for the Indians, he did consider walking on at Eastern but is now leaning towards being an intramural athlete college.
“I’ve always thought about going to Eastern and when Kal decided to play basketball and throw there that made my final decision for me,” Duke said. “(It was) very important (for us to attend the same college). We are really close, and we basically have always had the same classes since kindergarten.”