EAST CHICAGO | As mysteries go, this doesn't quite rank up there with Sasquatch or the Bermuda Triangle.
But make no mistake, East Chicago Central sprinter Jacques Hall has struck the local track scene like a sudden microburst these past few weeks.
Just who is this kid and where has he been hiding?
Hall recalled former Hobart star Jarvis McMillian wondering the same thing at the sectional. "He asked: 'Where were you when I was running? I would've liked to have seen you against me.'
"I've been an underdog. But this year, people are finally taking notice that I'm actually a competitor in the 100 and 200. I feel like I've really blossomed."
Heading into today's Valparaiso Regional, Hall's personal bests -- hand held -- are 10.5 seconds in the 100 and 21.5 for the 200. With Accutrack, they're 10.63 and 21.82.
"This year, I'm more focused because it's my last year, so attitude definitely had to change," Hall said. "My block starts have gotten tremendously better. Coming out, I'm actually the fastest.
"Finishing is a big part I'm working on; getting that extra oomph going into the finish line. It'll play a big part for me (today) and going to state."
Hall was second to Bowman Academy standout Cornelius Strickland in the 100 (10.69 to 10.79) and 200 (21.62 to 22.04) at the Highland Sectional and relishes his presence this season.
"He's a great runner. When I'm running against him, it's like family. It's like he's that big brother that pushes you to work harder," Hall said.
Hall is one of nine Cardinals, all of them football players, to qualify for the Valpo regional. He went to state as a junior alternate on the 1,600 relay and now anchors the 400 relay.
"If all goes right, I believe Jacques and (Strickland) can continue to push each other all the way down to Bloomington," coach Maurice Phillips said.
"He was probably my best 100 guy last year, but his attitude and strength training over the summer just took him over the top. He's so much more relaxed and confident."
Hall is getting serious looks from Michigan State and Indiana among other big programs.
"He gets off the blocks so quick and hard, that if you're not the same type of athlete he is, you're just knocked out," Phillips said.
"It took someone like Strickland to get him and it will again."