By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
HERSHEY -- The anticipation of running in the PIAA Championship meet can make even the most seasoned runner anxious and nervous. But not Sean Walker.
The Lewisburg senior ran the Parkview Course without restraint in what turned out to be an "easy" race for the Green Dragon.
Walker posted the Valley's best finish on Saturday when he completed the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes and 39 seconds, which was good for ninth place and a medal in Class AA.
Two additional medals were claimed in the girls Class AA race. Shikellamy freshman Treicy Cedeno finished 14th in 19:50, while Danville freshman Mackenzie Jones was 17th in 19:51.
The top 25 finishers in each race receive medals.
Paving the way for Walker's finish on the afternoon was his mental approach to the race.
"I knew coming in there were no expectations, so I really just came out and did whatever I could, and I guess it worked out for me," said the Green Dragon. "Mentally, it really helped. I came in calm and not stressed out. In some of the other races I ran in this season I was expected to win or get second -- and those were more stressful.
"(Saturday) was kind of easy. I felt relaxed and not tense at all."
Walker entered the meet with a goal of placing in the top 10. A mile and a half into the race Walker had an idea that he might be in for a good finish after he tackled the first hill with relative ease.
"Coming down (that hill) I was like, 'Oh, I really have a lot more left than I usually do at this point, so I knew I was in for something good," Walker said.
Then with less than a mile to go Walker heard he was in 13th place, and it gave him a much-needed boost to help himself move up a few spots near the end.