MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

April 7, 2012

Transfer shines for Roughers

— TAHLEQUAH — Darnell Walker, Jr. didn’t waste time in making an impact in his first track meet for Muskogee High School this spring.

Granted a hardship Thursday by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, Walker  finished second in the long jump at the Reasor’s Track Classic at Tahlequah High School on Friday with leap of 21 feet, 11 1/2 inches.

Only Tulsa Washington’s Jared Collins jumped farther at 22-9 on his last attempt to beat out Walker. According to Ohstrack.com’s records Friday, those two stand as the third and fourth best distances in Class 6A this season.

“The kid from Booker T. Washington came out of nowhere,” Walker said. “He gave it all he had and got me on that last jump. I wasn’t too disappointed. It’s fine as long as we have fun out here.”

MHS coach David Heath was happy about the latest addition to his team..

“It’s great for him to move back,” MHS coach David Heath said. “He’s also going to help us in the sprint relay and  the 200.”

The younger Walker moved back to Muskogee from Bolivar, Mo., after his father, Darnell Walker, Sr. got a job coaching the Tulsa Hurricane’s secondary after spending this past year serving on the staff at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. The younger Walker has signed a scholarship to play for the Golden Hurricane as a defensive back.

“My mom and grandparents thought it would be best to move back in the home where I grew up,” the younger Walker said. “I moved back in with them. This was different because it’s April and I’m used to starting earlier than this. It’s fun seeing all of my old friends.”

The older Walker was an assistant coach at Bacone when the younger Walker played at Muskogee, then moved during his sophomore season to live with his father in Bolivar. He played his junior and senior seasons at the Missouri high school.

In other boys events, Bradley McGee was second in the shot put (47-9) and Dexter McGriff (46-5 1/2) was third, while Mikel Smith was third in the high jump (6-4).

Victor Williams, a state finalist in the 110 hurdles last year, strained a hamstring in the 100-meter dash. He did not score any points in the meet.

Meanwhile, Muskogee’s girls shined in the relays with second-place finishes in the 400 (49.91 seconds) and 800 (1:46.30) and third place in the 1,600 (4:08.56) The same four girls (Lillian Thompson, Lashai Nunley, Clarissa McJunkins and Xandrea Maxwell) ran in all of the relays.

The Lady Roughers were happy, but not pleased with their efforts.

“We have to keep working hard,” McJunkins, the lone senior, said. “(Coach Angie Hillmon) tells us we’re running against time and not people.

“It’s a mental thing. We want to shave off seconds on each relay and keep reminding each other about that.”

Tahlequah’s Remo Blum was third in the boys 3,200-run (10:06.91). Kacie Elliott led the Lady Tigers with her runner-up finish in the shot put (37-1/2). She was fourth in the discus (114-10 1/2).

Teamwise behind champion

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