Mariah Walker already appears to be in midseason form, despite what the calendar says.
That's because the Sand Creek thrower started her senior track and field season long before the high school outdoor season officially commenced earlier this month.
"It's almost like the middle of the year for her since she starts competing at college meets in December," Scorpions coach Bobby Tillman said. "We're pretty pumped to see her do so well early in the season."
Tillman is alluding to Walker's distances recorded Saturday at the Centennial Invitational at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo. The future University of Colorado athlete set meet marks in winning both shot put and discus with throws of 47 feet, 7 1/2 inches and 144-2, respectively, in landslide victories.
To put that in perspective, when Walker won the 4A state championship in the shot put last May, she did so with a heave of 44-0. At 125-8, she finished fifth in the discus.
"I told someone at signing day that I wanted to hit 50 feet (in the shot put), but I feel like I need to move my goals up," Walker said. "I've always gained five feet every year, and I want to gain five feet this year. I want to get to the point where I can throw 55 (feet) at some point."
If Walker were to hit that mark of 55 feet, it would set a national record. The overall state-meet record of 51 feet was set 20 years ago.
And don't think Walker doesn't have a little motivation heading into her final appearance at the state tournament in Lakewood.
"Mariah has big goals, and she wants to break the shot put state record," Tillman said. "She's a very humble kid, and the model of how I want everyone to work. She's always helping and is a great leader."
Walker has other goals during her two-week spring break (Falcon School District 49 starts school earlier in August, allowing for longer fall and spring breaks), meant to put her mind and body in top form as the season soon hits its home stretch.
"For me, track has been something I've done since the fifth grade, and with the break, it gives me more time to practice and be in the weight room," Walker said. "It also gives me a chance to catch up and get ahead at school. I'm in all AP (advanced placement) classes. After spring break, it's crazy because that's when state and everything happens all at once. I want to make sure I'm as ahead as I can be."