The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 26, 2013

Coach pushes Walker to faster times

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Chris Walker says track has helped teach him how to compete.

And that goes beyond football and track, the latter which Walker will be leading the Trojans into today’s Class 2A regional at Watonga.

Walker also will be performing in OBA’s stage presentation of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as Adam Pontipee and has competed in one-act plays with partner Kassadi Cronkhite.

“It’s a little different,’’ Walker said. “You have to know how to use your emotions in football. You can be emotional the whole time in one-act plays ... you don’t have a scoreboard to tell you how you’re doing.’’

Walker will have the stop watch to tell him how he’s doing in the Okeene regional. He will have a challenging day being in the 200, 400, 1,600-meter relay and 3,200-meter relay.

“Yes sir, it’s going to be tiring,’’ he said. “I just don’t think about it. I just run.’’

Walker is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A in the 400 meters with a 53.31, according to OHStrack.com. He is confident he can finish in the top three in open 200 as well as the relays. to earn an automatic berth into next week’s state meet.

He will team with Merritt Suenram, Blaine Whitson and Johnny Volpe in the 3,200 and with his brother, Manny, Suenram and Volpe in the 1,600 relay.

“In track, it’s just you against the next person,’’ Walker said. “In other sports, you have a team around you to make up for your faults. That’s how you learn to compete.’’

He has a different mentality in running a sprint in the 200 than he would running an 800 leg on the 3,200 relay.

“In the 800, you just have to get through it,’’ he said. “In the 200, you just sprint it. I’m starting to like the 400 a little better. It’s one of the toughest events. You have to know when to save yourself and when to sprint.’’

This spring has been difficult for Walker and his teammates as they have battled cold temperatures, rain and even a little snow.

“Coach (Alan) Ford pushes me every day, even when I don’t want to be pushed,’’ Walker said with a smile.

“It’s been a little windy out there, but coach Ford always says adapting overcomes. That is our motto.’’

He has set a goal of going 50 or seconds faster in the 400.

His favorite thing about track is the camaraderie.

“We have good chemistry,’’ he said. “I enjoy running with my brother. My favorite thing is just sitting in the tent with all of the guys and joking around with them.’’

Ford said the Trojans may have a stronger team than they did last year when they were third in the state. That’s even with the graduation of Nathan Whitson, last year’s state champ in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

“You just want to get as much stuff as you can at regionals,’’ Ford said. “Hennessey has a real strong team. Things just have to go the right way.’’

OBA girls coach Mark Boyd expects a strong showing, especially in the relays where  OBA is ranked No. 10 in the 400 relay (54.42) and second in the 800  (1:51.89) and 1,600 (4:19.65).

Ashley Atwood is ranked No. 2 in the 400 meters (1:00.97). Erin Coffin is ranked No. 6 in the long jump (15-7).䝎