Luke Wallace was a versatile athlete for the Grandview Heights boys track and field team.

The 2020 graduate not only could help the Bobcats by running in any individual event from the 100 meters to the 800, but he also could run on all four relays and was one of the team's top high-jumpers.

Wallace was primed to have a strong senior season with the Bobcats, but spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Now his focus is on preparing to compete for Marietta College.

"(Sprints coach) Ramone (Brant) refers to him as 'the Swiss army knife of track,' " Bobcats coach Brian Schoch said. "Luke has the good speed needed to run the 100 and has the endurance needed to run the 800. The high jump is his best field event, and there have been some meets where he has run in all four relays. He can do whatever the team wants.

"Some kids shy away from the (1,600 relay) because it's the last event of the meet and they are bushed. Luke is always ready to go, and he's been to every conditioning session that we have ever had. Those are the kids that it breaks your heart to not get to see them have their senior year."

Wallace said he was taught by his parents, Robert and Dina, to always be prepared for anything.

"One of the things my parents always told me was to be needed where you can be," he said. "I try to put my mind to wherever coach Schoch puts me."

Wallace ran a personal-record 55.0 seconds in the 400, had a top time of 2:09 in the 800 and cleared a personal-best 5 feet, 11 inches in the high jump.

"I really like the high jump the most and I have been working on it since the seventh grade," Wallace said. "My mom helped me a lot with it. She jumped at Salem High School (in northeast Ohio) and at Youngstown State, where she also played volleyball."

Wallace had been looking forward to his final season with his Grandview teammates.

"The team is amazing and that's probably because of the family support," he said. "We have done well and seen a lot of success over the past couple years. We expected to have a really good season this year.

"But you really shouldn't dwell too much on what could have been. If I keep thinking about the season that could have been, I would go insane."

Schoch believes Wallace's leadership would have been among the reasons the Bobcats likely would have been highly successful this spring.

"Luke loves practice, he loves conditioning and he loves meets," Schoch said. "He has a spirit about him. He has found his sport.

"Luke is a guy that goes through everything he needs to do at practice and then he will go help the younger kids with the high-jump area. That's not just on one occasion, but pretty much every day. That's the kind of teammate he is."

Wallace expects to be a middle-distance runner at Marietta, but also sees himself possibly in the role of a sprinter. One definite responsibility will be running relays.

"I really like the small, cohesive unit of the four people on a relay," he said. "Warming up together and everything is great. It's like a team within a team."

Schoch believes Wallace's team-first attitude will take his versatile performer a long way.

"I think the thing that will translate for Luke in college is that any coach will love someone with his attitude," Schoch said. "I'm not sure what his role may be, but any coach can work with an attitude like Luke has.

"He not only has the desire to get better, but to make the team better. He's an encourager and makes the other kids better."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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