Any early-season doubts that Laney’s girls relay team would repeat as state champions were erased by the work ethic of Kionna Walker.
The senior pushed her 4x100-meter relay team to a second consecutive Class AA state championship in Albany, Ga.
Three of the relay team’s four members were new in 2014, and there were questions whether Laney would earn another title. Walker worked with her teammates to improve, and they peaked at the state competition, finishing at 49.1 seconds to beat Lovett.
For her leadership skills and success on the track, Walker has been named The Augusta Chronicle Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
“I was a senior, so leaving with another state championship, four more region championships, that was just amazing,” said Walker, who ran the first leg of the relay. “I definitely push my teammates to run harder and push harder.”
Walker backed it up with a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash at 25.55 seconds, improving three spots from last year. She also finished fourth in the 100-meter dash.
Coach Otis Smart said Walker was first to the track each training day, and she would constantly ask questions to get better.
“I appreciate the work ethic she has,” Smart said. “She’s very disciplined, always ready to go. She’s going to do well in college, because her work ethic athletically and academically is good.”
Walker signed to run for South Carolina State. She said her goal from the beginning of high school was to compete for the Bulldogs.
Walker’s Laney relay team was seen as the underdog at state competition despite entering as the defending champion. She said her South Carolina State team will face similar odds, which she thrives upon.
“A lot of people have the attitude of going out and doing their best,” she said. “My attitude is, you’re going to win this race. It’s breakout season for South Carolina State.”