Athlete of the Week – Jared Walker
Name: J.J. Walker
School: South Fayette
Walker’s week: Walker passed a milestone this week when he became a member of the Century Club. Walker went 4-0 in this week’s WPIAL Class AA Team Tournament to reach his 100th career victory.
Walker receiver a forfeit win a 60-19 victory over Southmoreland in the first round and followed it with a 10-0 major decision over Shawn Carl of Avella in the Lions’ 47-21 win over Avella in the quarterfinals.
Walker pinned Jeremy Mayfield in 21 seconds during South Fayette’s 37-29 victory in the semifinals and won an 11-3 major decision over Derrick Beattie in a 34-28 loss to Burrell in the finals.
Those wins moved Walker’s season record to 30-1 and overall mark to 100-25.
He will be looking for No. 101 today when the Lions take on Huntingdon today in the first round of the PIAA Class AA Team Tournament in Hershey. The Lions enter as the District 7 runner-up and Huntingdon the District 6 champion.
Weighty issue: One of the reasons for Walker’s success has been his dedication to lifting.
“I think he lifts every day, 365 days a year,” said South Fayette head coach Rick Chaussard.
Walker heads to Mike Shuck’s garage, called The Bulls, and goes through an exhausting routine with the free weights.
“I usually go through a two-hour workout on Sundays and about 90 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Walker, who was a running back on the Lions WPIAL and PIAA championship team last fall. “I’ve maxed out at 270 on the bench during football season.”
Two of the days are spent on the upper body and the other on the legs. It’s not only added muscle, but made him a more balanced athlete.
“I started going the summer before my freshman year,” he said.
Numbers game: Walker, if healthy, can leave South Fayette as the school’s career victory leader. Nick Carr has the school record of 129 wins and is about to be passed by Grant Fetchet (126) in the next week or two.
Mark McKnight, who wrestled in a co-op program at Chartiers Valley, has 130.
“The 100th was nice, and I know the team tried their hardest (against Burrell),” Walker said. “I’m proud of the team. If one match had gone differently, we would be WPIAL champions.”
There is still a chance for wins in the PIAA Team Tournament, which gets under way in Hershey Thursday for the Lions. It’s the second straight trip for South Fayette.
“Last year, we were excited just to be there,” Walker said. “Now, we know what it’s like. We want to bring something home.”
Compiled by Joe Tuscano