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Rio’s Walker gives strong performance at MSC meet

RIO GRANDE — It’s easy to understand if Rachel Walker is a little tired. It’s been a very busy weekend.

The Rio Grande University RedStorm junior standout had an impressive performance on and off the track at the Mid-South Conference track and field meet.

On Friday afternoon, Walker had a personal best throw of 39.05 meters (128 feet, one inch) in the hammer throw and finished second in the conference meet behind teammate Tracie Brown who set a conference record of 40.25 meters (132 feet).

Rio Grande went 1-2-3 in the event as Cory Crutcher finished third at 35.33 meters.

Walker — a standout middle blocker on the volleyball team — capped the day by earning Mid-South Conference All-Academic honors at the conference meet banquet Friday night.

“It was pretty busy, but it was fun,” said Walker. “Two seconds, a seventh and all-academic honors is a good weekend.”

It was the second time the former Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ three-sport start has won all-academic honors. Walker was an All-Academic honoree in volleyball last fall.

Saturday the versatile junior competed in two contrasting events by throwing the discus and running a leg on the 4×100 meter relay team.

“We just put the team together on Tuesday. We couldn’t do much on Wednesday and Thursday because they had to paint the track,” Walker said referring to Rio Grande hosting the MSC meet.

The relay team of Hayley McSurley, Kayla Graves, Cassie Mattia and Walker finished seventh with a 51.22 clocking. Moments later she was throwing the discus and finished second behind Brown.

“I was tired after the (relay), but I had some time to catch my breath. I was the last thrower,” said Walker.

“I was a little disappointed I didn’t throw my best, but second place is pretty good. My last throw would have won but I fouled. I’m still pleased with the results.”