Columbia Central High School runner Jacob Walker has a good chance to earn all-state honors at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state cross country final which was held last Saturday.
Photo, story by Jeff Steers
Exponent special writer
Columbia Central High School cross country runner Jacob Walker probably felt a little anxious heading into the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state finals a year ago.
Walker went out fast and “hit the wall” late in the race in which he finished 81st.
The senior hopes he has learned from that experience before he competed on Saturday.
Walker finished third at Division 3 regional tournament at Ella Sharp Park on Friday. He finished the muddy 5k course in 17 minutes, 4 seconds to qualify for the state tournament for a second consecutive year.
“The first mile I felt really good,” Walker said. “I have run well against Melling (from Hanover-Horton), but today he destroyed me.
“That was great for him.” (more below)
But Walker understands the pressure of running at the state meet and what it may mean for his future plans. He would like to run cross country in college but does not have anything set in stone yet.
“I have a lot of pressure on me heading into the state meet,” Walker said. “It is all in the mind.”
Walker dominated the jamborees in the Lenawee County Athletic Association this season. He won all of the conference jamborees and was the top runner at the final.
The senior stepped up his training this summer, running 50-60 miles per week and increasing that to 70-plus miles after recovering from a slight injury.
“I knew I had to do a lot more training this summer,” Walker said.
Walker won’t have any trouble handling the academics in college. He is fifth in his class with a 4.12-grade point average.
“I want to go into exercise science, go to medical school, and pursue a sports physician degree,” Walker said.
Walker believes that running allows him to relax after a long day of schoolwork.
“School is all about learning and running allows me to relax after school,” Walker said.
Walker plans on ‘relaxing’ during the first portion of the state meet on Saturday. He would like to pace himself with Rogan Melling of Hanover-Horton and put in a kick the last 800 meters.
“There is a lot of pressure because I have high expectations of myself,” Walker said. “It is all about the finish at the state cross country meet.”