Walker signs with Minot State
LINGLE – Emma Walker’s love of hurdles began one boring day on her property in the country.
She saw a short fence and decided to jump it. She ended up doing it a couple times and found it to be fun.
“I was like, you know, hurdles are a thing. It wasn’t anything real inspiring or like nothing really that cool, but I thought I could do that,” Walker said. “It looks challenging, and I didn’t think I was really that fast without something in my way.”
Since then, she has continued to improve her hurdle skills, including the 100 and 300-meter races, and on Thursday, March 9, Walker announced her intentions to continue running track at the collegiate level for the Minot State University Beavers.
Walker doubted her abilities early on until attending some summer camps.
“My search for a college track team started at some summer camps,” she said. “I really didn’t think I could do track in college. I didn’t think I was good enough.”
Following the camps, Walker realized it was something she wanted to continue pursuing after high school.
With the help of the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) app, Walker started to get her name out to college coaches.
“Coaches can follow you. It’s kind of like Instagram for athletes,” Walker explained. “They can talk to you and follow you on there.”
After a couple months of being on the NCSA service, she had Minot State coach Greggmar Swift reach out.
Because of the distance between Lingle and Minot, North Dakota, the two held a Zoom meeting. They talked about the improvement Walker had made over the years – going back all the way to Walker’s middle school years.
The end result was an official visit to North Dakota.
“(Swift) wanted to bring me up there and bring out the best in me in college,” Walker said. “He has the recourses, and he knows what he is doing. He was an Olympic hurdler, and he knows what it takes to bring out the best athlete in yourself.”
On the visit, Walker got to watch part of a practice and spoke with several of the current student-athletes.
“Not only did I really like the campus in Minot, the team, they’re a wild bunch, but they are so nice,” she said. “Plus, the coach wasn’t just putting on a façade. He is super nice and super respectful in the meeting. You could tell he was very genuine. I got to see the way he talked to his athletes and how he treated them. I was really, really impressed. They respected him as well.”
During her time as a Lady Dogger, Walker has medaled four times at the Wyoming State Track and Field Championships. Last season, she finished eighth in the 100-meter hurdles and sixth in the 300-meter hurdles. During her sophomore year, Walker finished third in the 100 and sixth in the 300.
“It’s been really great,” Walker said of her time at LFL. “My stuff started in middle school when coach (Mike) Lashley saw something in me. It turned into a project for him. He had a plan for me before I had a plan for me.”
She also had high praise for the LFL hurdle coach Rick Cotant.
“He’s the sweetest guy you’ll probably ever meet. There is something about the way he coaches kids that makes you accomplish things that you don’t think you could have ever done,” Walker said. “I didn’t think I was a 300 hurdler. I didn’t think I had that much gas in me, but he brought it out of me.”
In addition to the hurdles, she was also a part of several relay teams including the sprint medley, the 4x400 and the 4x100 during her sophomore and junior years. She won last year’s 4x400 relay and finished third in the sprint medley relay and fourth in the 4x100 her sophomore season.
She also took part in indoor track for Mark Sims at Torrington High School as part of a co-op with LFL and Southeast.
She plans to study business management at Minot State.
“Later on, I will get a cosmetology degree and get my license, along with my barbering license,” Walker said.