This week’s featured athlete of the week is one of Park City's stars, Ali Walker. Recently she signed to run at the University of Wyoming under the tutelage of Bryan Berryhill. While some distance runner do not tend to race a lot in winter for fear of over racing, Walker has run a few select races to help shake off the dust and gear up for her final year wearing red and white. Recently Milesplit Utah had a chance to catch up with her and ask her about the upcoming season and her college selection.
Ali at State Cross Country - Photo by Kyle Perry
You have been doing some races this winter, how has that been?
I have run twice at the Olympic oval and then I went up to Simplot and raced there as we ll. This winter was my first time racing indoor. Going from cross country to track is a whole different mindset. It is a lot more intense. Winter training has helped me make that transition, so I won't be shocked when I start outdoors.
Park City has had some success recently, how is it like training with your team?
Its awesome, when I first started to get serious about training I had to do a lot of my training on my own, especially in the offseason, then my teammates started to get serious as well. Alyssa [Snyder] and Annie [Orr] upped their level become of me and now we have a really good team because o fit.
With all those good girls are you planning on running a 4x800m team?
We really like the 4x800m, we hope to do well this spring, since I have been here we haven't lost, so we want to go out and be good.
What are your goals for the outdoor season?
My goals are to break 5:00 in the 1600m this year and break 10:50 in the 3200m. Other than that I just want to finish my senior year off strong and do well as a team.
Speaking of looking forward, congratulations on recently signing with Wyoming, why did you chose to run there?
I had a couple of really good options for colleges. I chose Wyoming since the coach came to my house and sat down with me and explained his coaching philosophy. I really liked him, and am excited to run for Wyoming next year.
Going from one high altitude school to another, was that part of your decision process?
Park City is 7000 ft and Laramie is 7200 ft elevation. That is one thing that got me super excited about running for him actually. I like to train up high then come down to race. I am really happy and excited to train even higher than were I am at now.
What do you want to major in at Wyoming?
I want to major in exercise science, Wyoming has a really good program for that so I was really excited about that. I am not sure exactly what I want to do with that yet, but I plan to use my freshman year to figure out exactly what I want to do and explore my options.
If you could pick any collegiate track to run on which one would it be?
I would run at Stanford, mostly because the campus is beautiful and my best friend is planning on going to the school.
What races do you think you will focus on in college?
After talking with Coach Berryhill, I think I will focus on the mile as a FR and SO. That will allow to me to get my leg speed down. If I am good at the mile I plan to stick with that though if I need to move up I will have gotten my leg speed up and can run with the 5K girls.
What is your pre-race routine?
Last year I always had pancakes the night before every race. Then in the mornings I listen to my favorite album of Angels and Airways. When I get to the race, I always do the same warm-up, I get kind of quiet, then I just get in the zone. I am by myself usually, trying to be casual and take care of the essentials like hydration and that kind of stuff.
Pancakes are good, what do you like when you go out to eat before or after a race?
My favorite restaurant is Zupa's, my family goes there after all of my races.
Who is your running role model?
My dad is my role model since he got me into the sport. I don't really have a role model so much, I just like watching the national meets whenever I can.
Your dad was an accomplished runner in his time and your brother is on the Weber St football team, how have they influenced you?
They influenced me to be in sports. My dad got me into running, he has been my training partner and has been a big part of my success. I have done lots of off season training with him. He gives me the secrets of the sport. But yeah I wouldn't be as active and into sports if it weren't for my dad and brothers
We are excited to you guys race this year, when is your first meet of the year?
Our first meet is at the Pineview Invitational in two week (3/23). I like it since it is a road trip down to St. George. Road trips are a lot of fun and it is a great way to start of the season at a lower altitude meet.
What, if anything, would you change about high school athletics in Utah?
If I could change anything I would add more road trips, but I really like high school track. It is a lot of fun.