PCHS runner chooses Wyoming
January 16, 2013
Park City High School senior Ali Walker was faced with a tough decision when it came to where to run in college.
The standout cross country and track runner had about 20 offers from schools across the country ranging from UCLA and Utah to Iowa State and Viterbo (in Wisconsin).
Ultimately, she chose the University of Wyoming based in large part on the recruiting visit of head coach Bryan Berryhill.
"(Wyoming was) actually not even on my list until at the very end of my decision-making," she said. "(Berryhill) came to my house and talked to me about his goals for the team and his type of coaching. He’s just who I wanted to be coached by."
Though she eventually became a star runner, Walker’s first love was soccer. In fact, she was selected to the Utah Olympic Development Team three times before high school.
If not for the influence of her father, Jim Walker, she might not have discovered her talent for running.
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"I had to give up soccer because of injuries," she said. "My dad was a runner, so he encouraged me to try out for cross country as a freshman."
It turned out Walker was a natural, earning all-state honors her freshman year. She’d go on to earn all-state honors every year.
"I’m very proud of that," she said. "It’s a cool thing to be able to say you were on the all-state team all four years of high school."
Walker also made the Nike Southwest Region All-Frosh team in 2009, the Foot Locker Frosh-Soph All-West team in 2010, and the Nike Southwest All-Region team in 2012.
She said both the isolation and the camaraderie of running make the sport appealing to her.
"I like it because it has both the aspects of a team sport and an individual sport," she said. "Your race depends on you. You can push yourself as hard as you want, but you are still a part of a team."
She trains every day, and thoroughly enjoys every run she takes, whether she’s running alone or with teammates.
"When you’re going for a run after school or something, I always say it’s the most relaxing time of the day," she said. "It’s when I de-stress from school."
On the track, Walker has found success in the long-distance events, notably the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.
Her goal for her senior season in track is to set school records in both events. The PCHS record for the 3200 is 10 minutes, 48 seconds and the 1600 time to beat is 5:00. Walker has personal bests of 11:03 in the 3200 and 5:03 in the 1600.
"I’d have to (break my personal records) to break both of those, so that’s my main goal," she said.
When she gets to Wyoming, her goal is to learn the ropes while still making her presence felt during her freshman season.
"I wanted a really good balance between being able to follow other people’s examples and also being able to contribute," she said. "I’ll have other girls faster than me, but I think I’ll be able to make varsity."
Get to know Ali
Favorite class: Chemistry
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite movie: "Pink Panther"
Favorite band: Angels and Airwaves
Favorite sports team: New England Patriots
Favorite sport (other than track/cross country) to watch/play: Football
Favorite sports moment: The 2011 state cross-country meet (where PCHS beat out Pine View and Ogden to win the championship)
Hobbies (other than sports): Reading, drawing, writing