Valley grad Ameriah Walters looks to close Seton Hill track career with more gold
Ameriah Walters originally was recruited to run hurdles at Seton Hill, but because the 400-meter hurdles and 200 meters are scheduled back-to-back at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships, she had to make a decision.
Walters, a Valley graduate, always felt like being a sprinter was her calling, and she is glad she trusted her instincts.
Now she has the opportunity to cap a record-breaking career with a clean sweep.
Walters, a senior, will try to win her fourth consecutive 200 at the PSAC outdoor championships, which begin Thursday in Mansfield.
“The thoughts of coming in and possibly winning for a fourth time has crossed my mind, but I always try to be a humble athlete,” Walters said. “I know there are underclassmen and even some seniors that are my age looking to win as well. At this point, it’s about trusting my training and having fun with it. It’s the end, so I want to enjoy the rest of my time here.”
Walters has six PSAC titles and holds three Seton Hill individual records: the outdoors 200 (24.44 seconds), indoor 200 (24.78) and indoor 400 (58.14). She also is a part of four relay teams that have set school records: indoor 1,600 indoor, indoor distance medley relay, outdoor 400 and outdoor 1,600.
“Without a doubt, she’ll leave as one of the best athletes in Seton Hill’s history and in PSAC history, too,” Seton Hill coach Jenna Fatica said. “The fact that she’s going to compete for her fourth title in one event … not many people can say they’ve done that. Even if she doesn’t win it, having six PSAC titles already is pretty special.”
Walters won the 200 on April 6 at Slippery Rock’s Dave Labor Invitational and was second at the Ashland (Ohio) Alumni Invitational two weeks later, when she had a season best time of 24.99. She’s also competed in the 100 and 400 and had a second-place finish in the 100 at Shippensburg’s Paul Kaiser Classic late last month.
Walters always is looking to shave time but feels comfortable going into her final PSAC meet.
“I know from my past that I perform best when the meets really matter,” she said. “Even though I’m not running times that I’m satisfied with, I know I can potentially run a great time at the PSAC meet, because I’ve done it before. I want to get out there and race, put everything out there and do the best that I can.”
With the work that Walters has put into her training, Fatica is confident her senior again will prove to be one of the best sprinters in the conference at the PSAC championships.
“Any given PSAC championship, anything goes even if you’re the favorite going in, but I have a lot of confidence in her and, most importantly, she has a lot of confidence in herself,” Fatica said. “I’ve seen Ameriah mature into a young adult at this point. She’s improved her academic career, certainly her athletic career, even socially and in all aspects of life.
“She’s a captain on this team for a reason. People look up to her and can relate her. She’s well-liked on the team, and I’m going to miss her.”
Walters spent the last week studying and getting her work completed for finals week. She is set to graduate with a degree in sports management.
“It is very rewarding to know that I was able to come in and be one of the dominant runners in the PSAC, but I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life and seeing what comes with that,” Walters said.