BOYS TRACK

Hebron's Wallace outrunning his brother's shadow

2013-05-08T17:00:00Z 2013-05-09T02:50:05Z Hebron's Wallace outrunning his brother's shadowJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

No matter how fast Blake Wallace ran last year, he couldn't escape the glare from the spotlight of his talented brother.

Damon Wallace led the Hebron basketball team to a sectional title and was a key member of the Hawks baseball team that came within a pitch of reaching the state finals.

"I was under his shadow," Blake said.

The younger Wallace, who also looks like Damon, played the same sports as his sibling in middle school. As a freshman, he chose track over baseball. Last season, he spent his time at a health club rather than on a basketball court.

"Track was a good way to go for me," Wallace said, quick to note he is the faster of the two. "People would say, 'Oh, Damon's better than you.' I don't have to worry about anybody else. It's a lot easier to focus on myself. It was good to separate myself."

Wallace is also distancing himself from the competition on the track, making his own name as a sprinter and long jumper.

"Damon's fast, but we were never going to get him because of baseball," Hawks coach Mike DeFries said. "Blake's so versatile. We had a meeting to decide what events to put him in (for the Porter County Conference meet) and there's about six he could be in and have a shot."

The 100, 200, long jump and 400 relay will likely be on the list, though Wallace's future may lead him toward the 400.

"I like shorter races, but coach wants me to get experience in the 400," he said. "I have to do a lot of work on my starts. I don't have that quick burst of speed in the 100. My speed comes later in the races. As soon as I hit the middle of the curve, I start to pass people."

Though long jump was Wallace's first event in middle school, he already holds the school record in the 200 at 23.18.

"He doesn't have quick starts. He just passes people," DeFries said. "When he started out, he just looked like a skinny 15-year old kid. He was fast and had good form, but just wasn't strong enough to keep up with older kids. I think his freshman year was eye-opening for him."

Wallace considered himself fast for his age group, but knew he had to do more to reach the next level. In addition to working out with a personal trainer to build his strength, he ran cross country for DeFries to develop his endurance.

"Running kind of came naturally to me," Wallace said. "I was still growing, so I knew I was going to get faster."

DeFries has noticed the difference.

"You watch him now, you can see he's faster because he's stronger," he said. "Another year, he'll be even stronger. He's just starting to show where he can be."

As a freshman, Wallace reached the Valparaiso Regional with the 400 and 1600 relays. Last season, he made it on the 1600 relay and long jump, where he's topped 20 feet twice. This spring, he'd like to get there in the sprints.

"That would be really nice," Wallace said. "My goal is to get pretty dang close to state."

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