March 11, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - University of Wyoming senior Afiya Walker didn't have the performance that she had in mind Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track Championships.
Walker was among the country's best 400-meter runners in the event throughout the year, but she didn't count on a mishap in Friday's prelims. Walker was running behind another competitor and got close enough to receive a cut on her leg from the other runner's track spikes. The incident was enough to ruin her momentum, Wyoming coach Don Yentes said.
Walker finished with a time of 54.69 seconds in the preliminary heats, good for 16th, effectively ending her indoor track season. For finishing 16th, she received Second-Team All-American honors, given out by the track coaches' association.
Jessica Beard of Texas A&M led the way with a time of 51.64.
"Afiya got out really well," Yentes said. "About 220 meters in the race, she started to make her move. The girl in front spiked her in the quad. That shook her momentum. She started back into it, but the 400 is not the race that you can run very herky-jerky in. When she lost her momentum, it stopped her and that was basically all she wrote.
"She felt very confident. We thought she was really ready for it. But in indoor track, those things happen. That puts a damper on the weekend, but hopefully, she'll use this experience and grow from it as an athlete and do better outdoors. I'm very proud of her effort. It's just unfortunate."
UW's outdoor track and field season will begin with the Potts Invite, which will be March 19 in Boulder, Colo.