Walker looks for sixth career state championship

Aaliyah Walker’s legacy is secured.

In four years at Westgate, the senior already has five state championships — three indoor pole vault titles and two outdoor titles.

Saturday, she goes for the final gem in her crown when she competes in the Class 5A outdoor state track meet at LSU in her signature event with the chance to finish her career with her sixth state championship.

“I’m not nervous about it,” said Walker. “But I really haven’t thought too much about it either. It’s a little devastating because I don’t want to stop jumping, but I know that I have to soon.”

At the high school level her career may be coming to an end but the University of New Orleans-signee will be jumping in college come next year thinking about what she’s done to promote pole vaulting in the Teche Area.

“Hopefully, I’ve done my part in getting the next generation involved in the sport,” she said.

The Westgate senior won the indoor pole vault title in February and came into the outdoor season with certain records that she wanted to break. Tops among them was to clear 13 feet in competition, something she’s done in practice several times but has yet to do it at a meet.

“It’s been good but I haven’t done what I wanted to do yet,” said Walker, who has cleared 12 feet, 12-6, 12-9 and 12-10 this season. “I’ve set a lot of PR’s (personal records). I want to jump 13. I haven’t done it yet but I still have one more meet to go.”

Walker likes jumping outdoors and hasn’t lost a high school pole vault event this year. She enters the state meet as the No. 1 seed in the event, clearing 12-10 last week at the Class 5A regionals in Thibodaux.

“She’s had a real good year,” said Shane LeLeux, Walker’s pole vault coach at New Heights Gym. “She’s PR’d three times in the last four weeks. She hasn’t hit 13 yet though.

“She’s done it all year, she just hasn’t put it together in a meet. This is the time to do it.”

LeLeux thinks Walker can go out with her third straight outdoor title because of how hard she’s worked all year getting ready for this moment.

But the long-time pole vault coach knows that for Walker to win her third outdoor title, she is going to have to go through some tougher competition this year than she’s experienced the last couple of years..

“That’s the nature of the game,” said LeLeux. “Everybody gets better. But she’s worked for it and deserves it and I hope that God blesses her and give it to her.

“What better way to go out than to go out as a state champion in your senior year.”

Walker has done a lot more for her legacy than just winning state championships at Westgate.

“Regardless of if she wins or not, she has paved the way for a lot of kids from the west side (of New Iberia) to be successful as pole vaulters,” said Westgate girls track coach Margaret Dronet. “She has built the pole vault program at Westgate. We’re going to have a full plate next year with two boys and two girl pole vaulters. She’s led that way and showed the younger kids how to compete and that anyone can do this sport.”

While winning that sixth state championship would be a great way to go out, Walker knows she will have to be at her best at the state meet, especially with the competition that she faces.

“To win this one I would be like a fireball of excitement,” said Walker. “I’m going to have to put my game face on. A lot is going to determine how I practice this week.”

Win or lose however, Walker has made her impact on pole vaulting.

“When I go to meets, I meet a lot of people who come up to me and say that they want to be like me,” said Walker. “That’s inspiring. I just feel that I’ve done my best and made a difference.”


Walker Vaulter Magazine
Walker Vaulter Magazine

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