Runnin' down a dream

Tyler Walker will put on a new shade of red next fall. The Scott County High School cross country and track and field star has signed a national letter of intent to compete for Eastern Kentucky University. 

The fastest distance runner in Scott County High School history won’t have to wander far from home in his continued pursuit of excellence.

Tyler Walker, who smashed school and personal records this past fall on his way to a top-five finish in the KHSAA state cross country meet, recently signed a national letter of intent to compete in both NCAA Division I cross country and track and field at Eastern Kentucky University.

Walker completed the signing in a scaled-back setting at home while high school sports were on hold in early December.

Entrenched as the Cardinals’ No. 1 competitor on the cross country trails since sophomore year, Walker accelerated to the next level during his senior campaign against all odds and schedule changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walker established a new five-kilometer mark of 15 minutes, 24 seconds. In a November interview with the News-Graphic, Walker proudly reported that the record was also three seconds quicker than the best time registered by his father, Todd, as a high school runner in Ohio.

In a hard-fought Class 3A state race at Bourbon County Patrk, Walker battled the elements to a time of 16:05.4, placing fifth.

“I always dreamed about being No. 1 in the state of Kentucky,” Walker said after the race. “It is what it is. This is probably one of the best senior classes in a long time.”

He was equally adept on the flatter track, dominating the one and two-mile events a sophomore before a stress fracture prematurely ended his season.

Like everyone in the state, Walker missed out on his junior track season when the entire 2020 spring schedule was wiped out due to coronavirus.

Walker was the only male runner for the Scott County cross country as a junior and senior after the Great Crossing High School program made its debut in August 2019.

An all-around athlete who played the traditional stick-and-ball sports with his friends in grade school, Walker gravitated to running in seventh grade.

“It gives you time to be with yourself,” Walker said of the sport. “If you have a rough day, you can go out for a run and clear your head, and you feel good after.”

Walker intends to use his college education as a way to give himself a running start in the field of equine management, a business in which his family has been involved for as long as he can remember. Walker said he first sat on a horseback when he was six months old.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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