Some athletes leave legacies at their high schools by having their names on banners for future generations to see, but no one who ever looks up at the banners at Palmer Ridge High School will ever see the name of Kylie Walker.
Instead, athletes are sure to feel her presence anyway, even though Walker’s next softball game will occur some 1,100 miles away at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wis.
Three years ago, Walker got the idea to honor a child with cancer. This past year, the Go Gold campaign had spread to football and gymnastics in addition to softball.
“I’ve told my teammates I want them to keep this going,” said Walker, who was among six PRHS student-athletes to sign college national letters of intent Nov. 14 in the school’s auditorium. “It’s crazy to think that years from now, this hopefully will be bigger than it is now.”
Walker shared the stage with Charlie Deeds (baseball, UCCS); Ashlyn Foster (diving, Air Force); Natalie Wright (diving, Neb.-Omaha); McKenna Vroom (volleyball, Dordt College); and Jordyn Isner (field hockey, Slippery Rock).
Future signing periods are set to begin Dec. 19 (football early period), Feb. 6, 2019 (football regular period); and April 17, 2019 (basketball regular period). The November signing was basketball’s early period and for all other sports except football.
Kemper and Rees are students at The Classical Academy but compete with the Rangers since their school does not offer a swim and dive program.
Isner entertained thoughts of playing big-time field hockey from her first moments on the field for Palmer Ridge. But to do so, she’d have to pack her bags and leave the Pikes Peak region.
“I loved the sport from the start, but you definitely have to travel if you want your name out there,” said Isner, whose next destination will put her about an hour away from Pittsburgh. “I’ll be going up against girls from other states where field hockey is the main sport at their school. I know I’m going out there to a much higher level, but I’ll be ready for it.”
Jason Tomayko, the assistant softball coach at Palmer Ridge, wasn’t quite ready to think about next year’s team that won’t have Walker.
“I know she’s on to bigger and better things,” said Tomayko, a first-year coach at PRHS. “But I think some of those freshmen and younger girls will try to be future Kylie Walkers. That’s some kind of legacy, too.”