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Lafayette Jeff's Wallace wins 200-meter state championship
June 3, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
WATCH THE VIDEOCAST OF LUCAS'S PERFORMANCE AT :
BLOOMIINGTON — After everything Lafayette Jeff’s Lucas Wallace has been through with injuries this school year, the Bronchos junior blasted around the Hough Track and Field Complex oval to win the 200-meter dash in the Indiana boys state track meet Saturday.
Wallace, who is bouncing back from an ACL injury, entered the meet seeded 18th, but managed to make the 200-meter finals along with Central Catholic’s Danny Anthrop. Wallace bolted out of Lane 8, saw he had the lead after the curve and outraced New Albany’s Jermaine Parrish for the state title with a time of 21.70.
Wallace’s victory denied Parrish a sweep of the 100 and 200 meter races.
“I just don’t know how to put it into words how blessed I am,” Wallace said. “Coming into today, I didn’t even think I would be in the top three. Coming around the curve I beat in the guy in Lane 9 and there was just one guy next to me and I felt I could beat him.
“Last night I dreamed about being on the podium with the medal for fifth or sixth but I never thought I would be first.”
Wallace entered the finals with the seventh-best time after the prelims. After Jeff finished a better than expected fourth place in the 400-meter relay, which Wallace ran the second leg, he said he believed he still had one more good race left in him.
“Coming into the race, me and Cornelius Strickland of Bowman Academy talked about getting 1-2,” Wallace said. “He’s my friend and when he got hurt in the 100 meters, it was more motivation for me. I wanted to win for myself, my teammates and my school but for him, too.”
Wallace’s win helped Jeff finish eighth in the team standings with 20 points. Lawrence Central won the team title with 78 points followed by Jeff’s Hoosier Crossroads Conference rival Hamilton Southeastern with 53.5.
Wallace returns home as the area’s only state champion, but Anthrop did impress, finishing fourth in the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters. The 100-meter result was two places better than what Anthrop did a year ago at the state meet.
“I felt I ran a good race,” Anthrop said of his 200-meter run. “I tried to pass as many people as I could in the curve. I had no idea Lucas was that far out. It was a battle between us all year. He’s peaking at the right time.”
Anthrop entered the 100 seeded 15th but recorded the second-fastest time after the prelims. The final was so close that Anthrop had the same time as third place finisher Quinntya Qualls, of Pike (10.84), and .01 off second place Dylon Collins of Merrillville.
“Obviously I wanted first but coming from being seeded 15th, that was quite a leap,” said the senior Purdue football recruit. “You have to come in with the mentality that you’re not afraid of anybody.”
Anthrop’s future Purdue football teammate, Carmel’s Jimmy Herman, finished second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.25, just behind Hamilton Southeastern’s Zach Bray.
“Zach pulled it away today and hats off to him,” Herman said. “It was a good race, and I’m happy with my performance and looking forward to getting to Purdue.”
Jeff junior Carl McQuay picked up points as well, outpacing his No. 16 seed in the long jump to place eighth (22-10). He anchored the 400 relay with Matt Johnson, Lucas Ford and Wallace. Their time of 42 seconds is a Bronchos record.
“I’m glad that we were able to come out and represent Lafayette well,” McQuay said. “The teams that didn’t get here, this medals are for them too, especially our senior Lucas Ford. He did a good job.”
Jeff high jumper Derrick Rogers tied for sixth, but said he thought he missed an opportunity for a higher place by not matching his seed height of 6-6. He finished the meet with a best jump of 6-4.
“At other meets I’ve cleared 6-6 comfortably but today I just didn’t have it,” Rogers said. “My jumps today weren’t my greatest, so to still be able to reach this point is a blessing.”
West Lafayette pole vaulter Malachi Baker, though, used the momentum of the state meet to finish seventh. Baker went six inches higher than his previous best to finish at 14-9, while just missing 15 feet on his three attempts.
“I knew I could do it with everyone here and everyone rooting for me,” the Red Devils junior said. “It was just a big lift to be here with the big crowd. Now, I’m going to be practicing every single chance I can over the summer and indoors until the season starts again.”