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AAA High School State Track Meet

Wheeling Park’s Torrence Walker swept the three Class AAA boys sprint events at the state track meet.

Torrence Walker’s 2021 track season for Wheeling Park was so good that he even surprised himself at times.

The then-senior set school records in the 100 meters (10.43), 200 (21.23), 400 (48.45) and 4x100 relay (43.11) while also capturing state titles in the three individual events and leading all Class AAA meet scorers with 30 points.

“It was really shocking but at the end of the day I realized that, with all the work I put in, I deserved it,” Walker said. “I wouldn’t have been where I was at, I wouldn’t have done all the things I accomplished without the support of the community I was in, my teammates, my coaches and family.”

In recognition of his outstanding season, Walker was voted as the winner of the McCoy Male Track Athlete of the Year award from the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. He will be honored at the 75th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 1 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

Placing second in the balloting was University High distance runner Josh Edwards, followed by Fairmont Senior distance runner Logan Zuchelli.

Now a freshman at Virginia Tech, Walker said winning the award gave him a nice excuse to reflect on his high school career.

“I haven’t really been thinking about high school, I’ve just been stuck in college mode,” he said. “This made me go back and think about everything that went on in high school and I’m just very thankful for the award.”

Walker said that the motivation for the 2021 season actually started two years earlier for the Patriots.

“My sophomore year we ended up being state runner-up and we were all really mad and ready to go,” Walker said. “And then our junior year got taken away from us [by COVID-19] so senior year we were ready to go.

“We ended up not having anybody to coach us for our indoor season so we were doing all our workouts on our own, and once outdoors came, we were all locked in. It was a different mindset and that showed in all the work that we did behind the scenes and in the meets. We were just a powerhouse in the state.”

When the season started, Walker set goals for himself that seem modest in hindsight.

“I told [my coach] I wanted to run 10.7 [in the 100] and 21.4 [in the 200],” Walker said. “Those were my goals and then I ended up breaking both of those in the third meet of the season. So then it was like every week we were setting new goals.”

Walker broke Park’s record for the 200 in the first meet of the season and came within .02 seconds of the 100 record.

“After that I was hungry,” Walker said. “Once I broke the records, I was dead-set on extending it and sort of making it untouchable.”

At the Class AAA state meet in Charleston, Walker set the 100-meter record of 10.5 in the preliminaries before winning the final at 10.59. He also won the 200 in 21.43 and the 400 in 48.45.

In the summer, he set an all-meet state 200-meter record of 20.91 at the AAU Junior Olympics in Humble, Texas, and posted the state’s all-time second-best 100-meter clocking at 10.43, which matched a mark earlier at the Dick Dei Classic. At the NASF Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Oregon, Walker placed suxth in the 100 (10.47) and eighth in the 200 (21.14) to earn All-America honors.

Walker said the transition to a major-college program like Virginia Tech was rough at first but he is settling into it nicely now.

“I’ve been getting my butt busted every day in practice,” he said with a laugh. “Everything is competitive, competitive, competitive. In high school I was competitive, but the competitiveness level is way higher in college.

“I’m pumped,” Walker said. “I’m ready to show everybody how hard I’ve worked this offseason and to finally get a time out and see where I’m at.”