Germantown Friends’ Sarah Walker’s journey leads to Stanford

AMBLER >> As a youngster, Sarah Walker was no stranger to participating in sports.

She was both a figure skater and a soccer player at age five, and dabbled in just about every other activity she could find.

One of those activities that caught her fancy was running, and there were rare, but enjoyable, opportunities to engage.

“I was always doing sports because I loved them,” Walker said. “I was sort of fast, so every once in a while I’d run in a 5K, and I loved doing that.”

But time passed, and it seemed Walker was destined to be playing for a World Cup instead of Olympic gold.

In eighth grade, Walker was still a jack of all sports and master of none, still taking on a myriad of activities, but not settling on any special one.

When she hit ninth grade, Walker was still a soccer player first, but it wasn’t long before she heard the call to the track.

“In ninth grade I was still playing soccer,” she said, “but I decided to go out for winter track.”

It was sort of like Michael Jordan picking up a basketball.

In just her second 800-meter race, Walker qualified for the state meet.

The rest is history.

This past Wednesday, Walker, an Ambler resident and student at Germantown Friends School, signed a national letter of intent to attend Stanford University on a track scholarship. That her other college choices were Oregon, Harvard and Georgetown says a lot about her accomplishments as both an athlete and a student.

Since leaving soccer in the rearview mirror, Walker has grabbed more records than a music fanatic on Black Friday.

Her track resume includes school records in the 400 meter (56.05), 800 meter (2:03.70), 1,600 meter (4:52.8), 4×400-meter relay and 4×800-meter relay.

She’s traveled as far away as Cuba to compete in meets such as the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational and her 800-meter time (2:03.70) is merely the third best time in the state of Pennsylvania, all time.

Not too shabby for a soccer player, eh?

“My older brother went to Germantown Friends and ran track,” Walker said about her athletic switch. “In middle school I had run a pretty fast 800, and it was something I liked to do already.

“My freshman year I was on a soccer team, but in the spring I couldn’t do both because the practice times were the same. It was tough because soccer had always been my favorite thing.

“But track is really exciting. I keep waiting to get better. No matter what I do, I think I could be doing more. Each race is another chance for me to run faster.”

As for her support group, Walker said her parents have always been there for her.

“My family has always supported me,” she said. “And they support both my athletics and my academics. They just want to see me be happy.”

As for her choice of Stanford, Walker said the choice was not an easy one.

“I knew it was going to come down to the little things,” she said. “I felt they were all so different, and there were things I liked about all of the schools.

“I finally chose Stanford because I think they are going to offer me the best in both academics and athletics.”

While she waits to head off to Palo Alto, Walker has already planned out her upcoming schedule.

“I have Nike Regionals in a week-and-a-half,” she said, “and then I’ll take a week or two off and then start training for (Spring) track.”


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