For Kylian Lally, ignorance is bliss when it comes to track and field.
The Dixon senior is a member of a track team for the first time. He didn’t run at Reagan Middle School, and in his first 3 years at DHS, he spent his spring months preparing for wrestling season.
Needing a break from the grind of offseason wrestling, he decided to give track a try, finally giving in to the requests of friends who had been after him to join the team. His goal was a somewhat modest one.
“My goal when I signed up was to be able to say I made it to state in three sports this year,” said Lally, already a state qualifier in cross country and wrestling earlier this school year. “I was just hoping one of the relay teams would help me, but I had no clue it would help me individually.”
With his cross country background, and the amount of running involved in wrestling, the middle distance events were a natural fit.
His main race is the 800, and he runs the anchor leg of the 3,200 relay.
“It wasn’t too tough, because I was used to cross country where it’s 3 miles compared to two laps,” Lally said. “It was just a lot quicker pace, so I guess how fast I had to run was hard to adjust to, but the distance wasn’t really that hard to get used to.”
It didn’t take long for Lally to establish himself as one of the Dukes’ top runners. He turned in some strong performances in the indoor portion of the season, and kept it going once the weather broke enough to get in some outdoor meets.
For Dixon coach Bruce Luther, it was a pleasant surprise.
“At first we thought, ‘Well, maybe this is a fluke,’” Luther said. “After the second or third outdoor meet, we thought, ‘Well, this is amazing.’ We knew right then and there we had something.”
Lally’s coming out party was the York Invitational on April 25 in Elmhurst. Competing against an elite 800 field, Lally turned in a time of 1 minute, 55.77 seconds. That time would have been good enough for fourth place at last year’s Class 2A state finals.
“He comes up and asks, ‘What’s my race strategy?’” Dixon distance coach Kel Bond said. “Well, run behind this guy, run behind that guy, stay in there and try and out-kick him. He didn’t have a clue those guys were running 1:55 already this year. It’s been easy [to coach him]. He doesn’t over-think it. It goes to the simple part of being an athlete. You show up, you work hard, and you try to win.”
In a way, Lally takes a wrestler’s mentality to his running. It’s him against the athlete across (or ahead) of him, and he simply does what he needs to do to beat him. Going out too fast or too slow, or properly pacing himself – those are things seasoned tracksters think about, but are foreign to Lally.
“I really don’t know what to do, so I just listen to the coaches,” Lally said. “They tell me to run hard and turn left, so that’s what I do.”
Lally may or may not have the DHS school record in the 800 with his 1:55.77. In the summer of 2003, Bond, a recent DHS graduate at the time, ran at 1:54.99 at a Junior Olympic event in Miami, but that performance has yet to be officially acknowledged as the school record.
Lally is part of a record, however, in the 3,200 relay. He teamed with Simon Thorpe, Evan Grady and Alex LaMendola to post an 8:01.57 at the Sterling Night Relays.
Next fall, Lally will attend Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He doesn’t know what he will study, but he plans to be a part of the wrestling and track teams.
A few short months ago, being a two-sport college athlete was out of the question, but track is now in the mix.
“You ask him to do something, and he does extra,” Luther said. “There’s no minimum out of him. It’s maximum, and that’s it. Physique-wise, strength-wise, endurance-wise, he’s got everything.”
FYI: 3-sport (cross country, wrestling, track) athlete for the Dukes. ... Member of school record-setting 3,200 relay foursome. ... Has top time of 1:55.77 in 800. ... Will attend Loras College this fall.