Alyssa Walker has been a standout runner for Notre Dame since she stepped foot on campus.
Now the senior will be headed to the Ivy League as she plans on running at Cornell University next fall.
“I am super excited,” Walker remarked. “I can’t wait to go there next year and run and go to school.”
Originally Walker was looking for a school around her major, human development, but she ultimately started eyeing some prestigious schools.
“My dad went to Cornell and he knew the track coach,” explained Walker. “I talked to him and really like him. I met the team and fell in love with it. Every other school didn’t compare.”
Running at the Division-I level has been a dream for her since she laced up her first running shoes, and being able to do that at a school like Cornell is a dream come true.
Walker also likes the fact that she will be close to home so her family can watch her.
“My family has been my biggest supporters since I began running at 12 years old,” Walker remarked.
At least one of her parents is at her races, if not both, and her mother is usually the first one to come up and give Alyssa a big hug after the race.
“I’m looking forward to the fact that my parents aren’t too far away,” Walker said.
As she looks forward, though, she can’t help but a shed a tear for the alma mater that she leaves behind.
“Notre Dame has been a blessing for me,” Walker remarked. “The support that people give me, even people that don’t know much about running, they support me in everything I do. I’ve formed relationships I don’t ever see being destroyed and the support and encouragement to go on to college is amazing.”
This has also changed for the running scene at Notre Dame.
“When I came to Notre Dame the team was really small,” Walker said.
That was an adjustment for Walker, who came from Horseheads, Class A school.
“Going from 50 people on my team to five was definitely different,” she explained. “My coaches really just took me under their wing and made sure I was comfortable and acclimated to my new environment. The team and the people and the positivity and support just really helped.”
Walker still has track and field season left and she’s looking to use this spring as a springboard into next spring at Cornell.
“I plan on doing the 800 and 1500 mainly,” Walker said about her final season at Notre Dame. “It would be really nice to medal at states in outdoor (track and field).”
She also wants to get her 800 time down to 2:14, which would give her a shot at making Cornell’s 4x800 relay team next year.
“That would give me confidence to make their relay,” said Walker.