Sierra Lutheran’s Walker has sights on state title
Sierra Lutheran senior Bret Walker enters this weekend’s Northern 1A Regional Track and Field Championships at Yerington High School full of confidence, and with good reason.
Walker leads all Nevada 1A throwers in the shot put (48-10) and discus (144-10) going into the meet which will be held Friday and Saturday. His PR in the discus came at the Big George Invitational on April 28 at Douglas High School.
Walker, who has worked a lot with Carson throws coach Mike Louisiana this season, has improved significantly. He threw the discus 114 feet in his first meet, and he threw the shot 41 feet. He has improved by 30 and seven feet, respectively. He credits Louisiana for a lot of his improvement.
“He (Louisiana) has really helped,” Walker said before Monday’s practice. “He has so much experience.”
If you know Louisiana, he’s a perfectionist, and the veteran throws coach has spent a lot of time of improving Walker’s technique.
“In the shot, he was rushing,” Louisiana said. “We switched him to the glide. In the discus, I want him to explode at the finish. We’re still working on the things in the discus. The next two weeks (regional and state) are important.”
Translation: Expect the practices to be pretty intense, as Walker sets his sights on regional and state championships in both events. He admitted winning state is a much bigger deal because other than teammate Peyton Hedwall, the competition isn’t tough in the 1A regionals.
Walker admits he’s still struggling with the technique in the discus more so than the shot. He admits old habits are hard to break.
“It’s very hard,” he said. “I’m trying to do two little (new) things, and it’s not working. I’m starting to get better at what he’s trying to get me to do. I’m not there yet.
“Olympic throwers don’t hit their peak until their mid-20s (or later) because it takes so long to develop the proper technique.”
Louisiana and Walker feel better things are ahead in the discus, especially with improved technique.
“The last time he threw he set a school record (at Big George), and he was doing it the old way,” Louisiana said. “I’d like to see him break the state record of 166 feet. That record has been around since 1993. It’s time for that to go.”
“It would be great to get there (166),” Walker said. “I’m looking to get a PR (this weekend). I’ve PR’d in every meet since the start of the season.”
Walker estimates it will take a throw of between 130 and 135 to win the discus this weekend unless Hedwall uncorks a big throw. An injury kept him out of the postseason last year. Two years ago at Yerington, he fouled on every throw in the discus and didn’t make state. He said he plans to get one fair throw in right away and then go to work.
Walker threw a career-best 48-10 in the shot on April 14 at the Northwest Invite at McQueen. Hedwall came within three inches of that mark on March 31 at the Reed Sparks Rotary Invitational.
Walker admitted Hedwall may pass him in the shot put before the season is over, mainly because of Hedwall’s strength.
“Peyton is good,” Walker said. “He has a lot of power. I think his power gives him a little advantage. Coach Louisiana has been working with me to be more explosive out of the back of the ring.”
Teagan Hansen (1600, 3200) and Jared Marchegger (1600, 3200) are expected to move on in both of their specialties. Johannes Lamprecht will compete for a spot in the high jump and Grant Goins could be a factor in the 100, 200 and high jump.
Aleyna Gilson (100, 200, 400), Abby Ferenz (high jump), Emily McNeely (1600, 3200), Taylor Davison (distance events) and Rachel Hall (hurdles) will be looking to move on in individual events.