Class of 2012: A star on court, track and field

Marysville Pilchuck athlete Truman Walker has played basketball for years and has no plans of stopping in college.

This August, Truman, 18, begins college at the University of Missouri, where he plans to major in aerospace or mechanical engineering.

He’ll also be part of the school’s wheelchair basketball team. Walker has spina bifida, a birth defect where the bones of the spine do not close properly around the spinal cord. He becomes tired after walking short distances and is unable to feel his feet or move his toes.

“I visited campus and the team is very nice,” Truman said.

He started playing on the Junior Rolling Sonics team in middle school. He’s also been part of the Marysville Pilchuck track and field team for the past four years.

As a freshman, he tried out some wheelchair racing distance events. The next year, he switched to wheelchair field events, throwing discus, javelin and shot put, and found those were more his style.

That year, at the high school state track and field event, he won gold medals in each event. The following year, as a junior, Truman took home three gold medals in the same events and a gold medal in the wheelchair 100-meter race.

“I found out that I’m more for the high-powered, and not as much stamina, but more speed,” he said.

Before this year’s state meet in May, Walker kept his sights on beating his personal bests. He placed third in the 100-meter and broke state records in the discus, javelin and shot put.

Truman would like to continue with track and field in college, if it doesn’t interfere with classes or basketball. He first became interested in studying engineering as a junior while participating in Washington Aerospace Scholars, which emphasizes science, math, technology and engineering.

This summer, Truman and his family will vacation at Pearrygin Lake State Park in Winthrop. “Fishing, bike riding and relaxing. That’s definitely one of the things I’ll be doing after graduation.”

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