Former state champion aims for 2012 Olympics

Dakota Williams and Dakota Williams

ARC’s ex-track and field star Bracin Walker for upcoming Olympics and expects ‘nothing less than gold’

Former student and track and field star Bracin Walker trains for the Olympics on American River College soil. While being trained by his former ARC long jump coach Adrian Barr, Walker’s focus will be on getting prepared to qualify in June. Just to get a picture of his confidence level, when asked on his expectations he replied, “nothing less than gold.”

“I’m doing something towards track everyday, whether I’m on the track, in the weight room, using PALO (training tool), there’s always something contributing,” said Walker. He regularly comes to ARC’s track to train with his coach and work on his technique.

The current track and field program has a huge advantage and great role model with Walker attending their practices. They have a former state champion and hopefully future Olympian in their midst on a daily basis.

When asked about his freshman year Walker said, “it was just me coming out and coach Reid said just act like you’re dunking on somebody, and see what happens.” While he was a freshman on the track team he was also a sophomore on the basketball team.

Walker did well as a freshman, but really shined his sophomore year. “We thought he could be a good long jumper, and he turned into a record-setting long jumper,” said ARC’s men’s track and field coach Rick Anderson. His outstanding performance could belong to many different factors. To start, this would be his first time doing track without the extra load of basketball in the same year. Also possibly the most important key to the young long jumper’s future, long jump coach and veteran athlete Barr from California State University, Chico. “They brought him in, and he has taken me to a different level, and that’s who I’m sticking with,” said Walker.

To sum up his sophomore year and last year’s team Walker said, “We are the best junior college in California history. Our 4×100-meter had the fastest time in Nor Cal history. We won state, we won Nor Cal, we won conference, (we) ran the table; we’re the greatest.” Although he was a part of a record-setting 4×100 team and qualified for state in the 100-meter and 200-meter, his strong suit was in the sand.

Walker completely dominated in the long jump, setting records for incoming freshman to look up to and admire for years to come.  “You’re lucky to have somebody like that once,” said Anderson. Walker’s natural ability allowed him to win competition after competition. The plan now is to carve his raw power into a technical masterpiece.  “Last year was about getting in shape, not a whole lot of a technical aspect to it. This year’s more technical so he can use his body better,” said Barr.

The qualifying event takes place in June. The mark needed to qualify isn’t announced until the meet itself, though he expects it to be around 25 feet. Since he has already jumped 26 feet, all he has to do is compete and he should easily qualify. The goal will then be to win a gold medal. He will need to jump farther, so he and Barr are taking a different approach to training. “You have to change your workout to go farther, so if I did certain workouts to get 26 (feet) I can’t keep working out like I’m going 26, I have to start doing something to go 27,” said Walker.

“Right now we’re working on the aspect of how to land a jump, so we’re dealing with two things, the first thing is taking off better to get a better landing,” Barr said. His sprinting background will have a profound effect on his long jump by helping get to his top speed before his jump.

The expectations for Bracin are tremendous. “The sky is the limit for that guy, if he keeps training I have no doubt in my mind he could be one of the best long jumpers in the country,” said Anderson.

Bracin has also been known for extravagant hairstyles while competing. “I’m going to let my locks keep growing, and rock them in red, black, and green,” said Walker


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