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Speed Demon; National collegiate track athlete of the week - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Speed Demon; National collegiate track athlete of the week

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NATCHITOCHES, La. - From NSU Athletics:  A day after running the fastest 100 meters in the world this year, Northwestern State senior All-America sprinter Justin Walker was named the national male collegiate track and field athlete of the week on Monday. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association spotlighted Walker and Arkansas State hurdler Sharika Nelvis as the NCAA Division I athletes of the week in the sport. Nevis scored 38 points for the ASU women at the Sun Belt Conference Championships.

Walker, a Slidell-Northshore product who overcame reconstructive knee surgery after the 2011 season, covered 100 meters in a 9.95 time Sunday in one of his three sprint victories at the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

He became the first collegian this spring to run a sub-10 second qualifying mark with a wind of no more than 4.0 mph. His time came with a 2.5 mph tailwind, legal for rankings and NCAA qualifying but over the sport’s 2.0 mph limit for record-setting.

It made him just the third man in the world in 2014 to run faster than 10 seconds, ahead of the 9.98 by Simon Magakwe of South Africa and a wind-aided 9.98 by 2013 NCAA champion Charles Silmon, formerly of TCU.

Walker had a wind-aided 10.08 two weeks earlier at the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational, and a wind-legal 10.16 Saturday in the qualifying heat, when he pulled up with about 10 meters remaining. Last month, he had a wind-legal 10.23 at Southeastern Louisiana.

He tied NSU’s school record (10.13) as a freshman in 2010 and won last year’s Southland title in 10.49.

With less wind later Sunday, Walker was able to lower his own school 200 meter record by 0.02 to 20.47 in another dominant performance.  His 200 time moved him up 10 slots to 13th on the NCAA list in that event and broke his school mark set in his freshman year, 2010.

He had opened the afternoon with a sizzling third leg on the Demons' winning 4x100 meter relay team, which posted a 39.89 by football receiver and NSU track newcomer Shakeir Ryan, Keenan Jones, Walker and Ty Shilling ranking 25th on the NCAA list entering the day.  Walker won All-America status in the 4x100 relay at the 2013 NCAA Outdoors when NSU finished 11th.

Walker also ran a 46-second split on the 4x400 relay unit that finished sixth. It was the second time this season he’s run in that race. He was second in the meet’s men’s high point standings with a 23.25 score.

After several season-best performances at the Southland Championships, NSU appears poised to take a dozen athletes to the NCAA East Regional Championships late this month.  Walker and the 4x100 squad will run this weekend at Georgia Tech in a last-chance qualifying meet, hoping to lower their time to get a better regional seeding.
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