Back when Kyle Feck was in fifth grade, Doug Walker noticed his speed during field day and encouraged him to try track.
Six years later, Feck is Boone Grove's record holder in the 200-meter dash, and probably owes his former teacher a thank you note.
"My first meet in sixth grade, I didn't do that good," Feck recalled. "But in my mind, I was a beginner. Seventh grade, I started getting better. Ever since, I've just loved the sport so much. Most of them, they don't want to work out, but I'm here every day because I like the sport. I just like to run fast."
Feck grew up playing baseball, but hung up the glove to focus on running. He broke records in middle school, qualified for the regional as a freshman and sophomore, and has become the lead wolf in a small pack at Boone.
"He's our only 100 percent track kid," coach Marcus Jones said. "It's fun to have a kid like that. He's naturally fast. He's got a great body for a quarter miler. Last year, he didn't quite connect hard work in practice and competition. His success was still based on old habits. What's good about him is he's starting to realize he can facilitate that talent."
The light went on for Feck at Hobart's Little 5 meet, where he bested Boone's 23-year old mark in the 200, clocking 22.75.
"I'm really proud of that. I'm kind of speechless," Feck said. "It's the best season I've ever had. I've got a good coach and he's worked me to be a better runner. In the beginning, I didn't really push myself. Coach says there's always someone out there better than you, and I agree with that. You've got to push yourself through some things that are hard and it will work out in the end. You can do so much if you train so much."
Jones, who has Feck in chemistry class, implemented weight training and tweaked practices to get more out of his athletes. For Feck, it's a big picture question. Do you want to be Porter County Conference fast or Northwest Indiana fast?
"You can lose sight of where you are," Jones said. "He's starting to look ahead. Regionals got him excited. After the race, he was like, 'Wow, I've got to put in a lot of work even to get back here, to have any chance of advancing.' We're working on getting him more explosive and it's slowly coming together. Seeing his times come down, his confidence is definitely going up. It's fun to see the progression. We just have to keep building on it."
Part of that confidence is not holding back, running aggressively out of the blocks, as Feck did in the record-breaking race. Jones challenged him to lead every interval run in practice, which he is now doing. The next step is convincing Feck to run cross country to build an off-season foundation.
"He's definitely not a lover of running slow and long," Jones said. "His definition of long is getting over a quarter. You have to nudge them, but once they figure it out for themselves, it's a whole lot better deal."
Jones is feeding Feck a heavy race load in duals – 100, 200, 400 and a relay – to strengthen him for the post-season, when his events will be reduced. Right now, Feck is fondest of the 200. He has the wiggle room to not be perfect out of the blocks, like the 100, but doesn't have to worry about a pace, like the 400.
"I'm going to be so upset when the season is over," Feck said. "My goal this year is to maybe go down to state, if not, then next season. I love (track) so much. Over the years, I've met so many good people, made good friends. I'd like to go somewhere (to run) in the future."