Boys cross country

Lowell cross country star Brian Blaylock the perfect understudy

2013-09-20T18:30:00Z 2013-09-21T14:13:06Z Lowell cross country star Brian Blaylock the perfect understudyAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
September 20, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

LOWELL | Having an understudy is great if you're a Broadway actor or play in a symphony orchestra.

But while running high school cross country, wow, that's a bonus for the entire program.

Lowell senior Brian Blaylock finished 62nd at last year's state meet in 16:22.7 and is the highest returning Lake County runner this season.

Former teammate Kyle Eller, now running for the Air Force Academy, was fifth at that same meet and coach Jake Rakoczy views Blaylock as Eller's understudy.

"Just as far as learning how to run and race," Rakoczy added. "You can't think that whoever practices hard and runs the most miles is the fastest. There's a lot of strategy that goes into it.

"When you have that running mate to help do the work with, it's different than going up front by yourself."

Blaylock caught on quickly, it turns out.

"I want hopefully to be 30 seconds faster than last year," he said. "Maybe break 15:40 at the state meet. That would be nice.

"Kyle helped me a lot with just about everything — stride, form, speed workouts. He definitely wanted me to be up there with him. He'd be perfectly OK if I beat him. Then he'd train harder and beat me."

Blaylock said he's "pretty decent" on all surfaces and enters today's challenging New Prairie Invite undefeated in dual and triangular meets.

He was second at the Bob Thomas Invitational with a personal best 15:50, second at the Purdue University Invitational and third at the Crown Point Invitational.

"He had a breakout sophomore (track) season and ended up breaking 10 minutes (9:39). We knew we had something special there," Rakoczy said.

Blaylock's trump card is his kick down the stretch.

"He's a finisher, man. If you're close to him with 800 (feet) to go, you'd better be ready to run fast," Rakoczy said. "He's got a great last half-mile if he needs to."

Lowell placed 16th at state, its first appearance at the big show, and Blaylock is shooting for a top 25 individual finish if fortunate enough to return.

"I really love running," he said. "It's kind of a stress reliever. Sometimes, you run and don't think about anything. It's awesome."

Blaylock's personal track bests include 4:32 in the 1,600 and 2:02 for the 800 meters.

"At the end of the day, it's just running," said Rakoczy, who takes a pressure-free approach. "It's fun to run fast and not get too nervous about it. It's a unique sport. There's no plays to remember. There's no ball to mishandle.

"You just go out and run and if you have a bad day, there's always another race. I downplay the whole pressure thing. I just tell our guys 'go out there and give 'em heck.'"

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls cross country team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses