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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Captain John Walker shows energetic leadership style

Walker+was+part+of+the+4xMile+relay+team+that+holds+the+school+record+with+a+time+of+16%3A51.23.+PHOTO%3A+Luke+Malanga+20
Walker was part of the 4xMile relay team that holds the school record with a time of 16:51.23. PHOTO: Luke Malanga ’20

Men’s cross country senior runner and captain John Walker has made an impression on his teammates with his leadership approach early in the season.

Walker said his mentality has played a major role in his leadership and success thus far.

“Your mind is a much bigger player in terms of performance,” Walker said. “I think anyone can fight through any bodily feeling. Illness is one thing but soreness, fatigue, whatever I think you can battle through if your mind is in the right place.”

This no-nonsense approach carries on to practice where Walker acts as one of the team’s captains. Walker’s teammates describe his presence at their training sessions as “intensive” and “loud.”

“If you were to describe the way he talks in text format, it is all caps and there is an exclamation point after every sentence,” junior runner Matt Scarpill said.

Head Coach Mike Glavin said that while Walker’s leadership style and personality can seem abrasive, it helps get the message across.

“John is one of those people that is up-front,” Glavin said. “[He is] in your face, not meaning he is getting in guys faces, but ‘I am here and out in front of you.’ I do not think it can ever be unclear what John wants from you.”

Walker played football until his junior year of high school and then decided to transition to cross country for his senior year. Glavin said he thinks that Walker’s demeanor is the result of playing a team sport for most of his life.

“There are 60 guys on a football team,” Glavin said. “Dozens trying to orchestrate one play at a time as everyone has to be on the same page at all times. I think that may show up in John’s leadership. He has a good sense of humor, so he is not ‘in your face’ negatively.”

Senior runner Zach Michon said he appreciates having somebody like Walker at practice everyday.

“A lot of that energy he carries into practice every day,” Michon said. “He is one of the big personalities on the team. A lot of the guys have grown to love it and we live by it. He has always been John.”

Scarpill said he is most impressed with Walker’s work ethic.

“It is unlike anyone else I have ever met in my life,” Scarpill said. “He is one of the hardest workers, the first one in and last one out. He always will try to hype you and other people up.”

When Walker first started running for St. Joe’s, he said he did not see the results right away, but his hard work has paid off this year.

“It was a grind freshman and sophomore year as I was working very hard,” Walker said. “That was showing in workouts, but not translating to course of the track. I think my mental state has certainly grown and I have matured as a racer and a person, which has definitely steered me into success.”

Despite his boisterous personality, Walker said he tries to remain as relaxed as possible during the moments leading up to the gun firing off.

“I am definitely more of a nervous runner so it’s a constant battle with my mind,” Walker said. “To stay relaxed and to remember what the goal is and keying to execute to the best of my abilities.”

Walker said his goal this year is fairly simple. He wants to lead the team to an Atlantic 10 Championship.

“To take this group of guys as far as we can possibly go,” Walker said. “To be the very best teammate I could be, and to lead them like a captain should and like I know I can.”

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