Cole Walker won one of the season's top battles at the Carlisle Invitational on Saturday.
The Unionville senior out-dueled Downingtown West's Aiden Barnhill and University High's Larry Josh Edwards in a very competitive Challenge Race on the Travis Trail. With a strong late push, Walker pulled out the win in 15:25, a PR and the quickest 5K in PA so far this season.
"Obviously a stacked field at Carlisle," Walker said. "We went out really hard -- all three of us were kind of together the whole race battling through it. Everybody had the lead for of it, and we just kind of worked off each other a little bit to break away from the main field."
With about a half mile to go, Walker made his move. While he wasn't feeling his best in the heat, coupled with trying to get over a cold, he powered through to the finish to take the win.
"The lungs were giving out, but I felt like I had to go if I was going to have a shot to take it through and it worked pretty well," he said.
Walker said he likes the big meet atmosphere and competing against strong runners, like Barnhill and Edwards.
"I PR'd today and I couldn't do it without them," he added.
|2||Aiden Barnhill||11||Downingtown West||15:32.10||2|
|3||Larry Josh Edwards||10||University High||15:34.40||3|
|4||Jacob Hess||10||Lewisburg Area||15:51.60||4|
|8||Declan Rymer||11||Downingtown West||15:57.20||8|
|9||Tobias Jones||12||Grove City Area||15:59.00||9|
|10||Bruce Trimmer||12||Oxford Area||16:03.20||10|
The senior Walker has already earned wins at the Unionville Two Mile Bash and the White Clay Classic on his home course. Saturday's win at Carlisle is arguably the biggest win of his career, up there with his District 1 title at Lehigh last year.
Next up will likely be Henderson Invitational, a two-mile on the track, and then the Ches-Mont Championships on October 14 back on his home course at Unionville. He's the reigning conference champ.
Walker's in a good spot as the calendar changes from September to October. TullyRunners graded his Carlisle run as a 188 speed rating, which matches Patrick Anderson's state-leading speed rating of 188 from the PIAA Foundation Invite.
"I think I'm in pretty good shape," Walker said. "I'm excited to take it to the next level and hopefully make a run into the deep postseason and hopefully make it to December."
Watch the Challenge Race highlights above and check out Walker's post-race interview below: