Rhode Island Cross-Country Runners To Watch: Matt Walker, Westerly High

Matt Walker, Westerly

The Bulldog senior just missed a first-team, all-state selection at last year's State Meet, finishing eighth overall. We're predicting it will be slightly different this fall. Walker is our No. 3 returnee from the 2016 meet and should be able to secure a spot among our state's elite.

The Westerly standout clocked an all-time best for 5K of 16:02 by winning the East Bay Challenge on Oct. 20. He also was a runner-up at the inaugural Avenger Invitational and the Class B Championships. Walker is a runner that is not afraid to push the pace, often forging to the front to make sure the race is honest. He enjoyed successful seasons on the indoor and outdoor surfaces, including running five-minute pace for 5K at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships where he was timed in 15:39 and placed 15th overall. He also finished eighth for 3K at the Yale Track Classic with an impressive PR of 8:44, and was third for that distance at the indoor states. He was fifth during outdoor. 

With the graduation of five of the top seven runners from last year's State Meet, including 1-2 finishers DJ Principe of La Salle and Barrington's Mars Bishop, the room at the top appears wide open. Look for this Westerly harrier to be among those contending for those positions.