Lowell’s Kyle Eller often answers questions with a refreshing “yes sir.”
It’s a testament to his proper upbringing in a military family that took the Red Devil senior runner from Virgina to Montana before stopovers in Germany, Alabama and then finally settling in Lowell two years ago.
After a sophomore season in cross country and track that got the talented runner acclimated to his surroundings, Eller had a breakout junior campaign.
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” said Eller, whose dad, Dean, is a retired major from the U.S. Air Force who now teaches the Junior ROTC program at Lowell High School.
All Eller did last year was win sectional and regional titles, place ninth at the New Prairie Semistate and finish 52nd at state.
“His cross country season was fantastic, made it to state,” Lowell coach Jake Rakoczy said. “In track season, he just kind of exploded.”
Eller finished 11th in the state in the 3,200 meters this past spring after he placed second in the sectional and third in the regional.
“I put in a lot of work, and it paid off,” he said.
Rakoczy said Eller found out a lot about himself on the course, too.
“It’s one thing when you’re one of those guys who’s a phenom, and you’re always good and always up front, and it’s another when you start off as the kid out of nowhere,” he said. “You have to get used to being good, and I think that’s what last year was for Kyle, just gaining experience.”
Now Eller hopes he can take it to the next level and make a run at the state title.
“I’m hoping to do real well,” he said. “I’d like to win it of course. I’m hoping the team will go to state, too.”
Eller is quick to include his teammates in helping him succeed -- another aspect of his upbringing.
“Jeff Potat, Brian Blaylock and Garrett Corning have improved a lot,” he said. “We have a lot of other good runners, too.”
Rakoczy said there’s time to think on the cross country course, and Eller is learning to exact his race plan.
“The best guys go out there and impose their will,” he said. “They don’t key off of anyone else; they just run and let everyone adjust to them.
“Hopefully, that’s the difference we’ll see in Kyle. He’ll go out and just kind of do his thing.”