Lions also land West Plains' Walker

By Jim Fryar

Globe Sports Editor

Rachel Minard and Alison Walker, a pair of prep track and field standouts still awaiting their senior seasons, have signed letters of intent with the Missouri Southern women's program.

Minard is a three-time all-state performer and a hurdle record-holder at Webb City.

Walker is a sprinter from West Plains who will be following several former prep teammates to Southern.

"They have winning attitudes," said Southern coach Patty Vavra. "That's what I like about both these young ladies. And they both could make an immediate impact in the MIAA."

Minard is the defending Class 3 state champion in the 300-meter hurdles and holds the Webb City record in the event (45.31 seconds). She was also third in the 100 hurdles in the 2003 state meet.

Minard is also a three-time all-Southwest Conference volleyball player as a setter/outside hitter.

"Rachel is an excellent student with a great work ethic and she's been very well-coached," said Vavra. "I think she's one of those athletes who will continue to improve because she's such a strong competitor."

Said Minard: "I'm relaxed now (after making the college selection). I don't have to worry about it. I can concentrate on competing.

"I just really like Missouri Southern. I like the atmosphere. The track program is strong and, with coach Vavra, you know she knows a lot about the hurdles."

Minard, the daughter of Alex Minard and Chris Branham, plans to major in biology.

Walker has been a standout sprinter at West Plains. She didn't find what has turned into her favorite event until her junior season.

The fifth time the transplanted Californian ran the 400-meter dash, she placed fifth in the Class 4 state meet. She holds school records in both the 200 (25.54 seconds) and 400 (57.64) and has a top time of 12.23 seconds in the 100 dash.

"I'm very excited about attending Southern," said Walker, the daughter of Karen Kattner. "I like the class sizes, the facility, coach Vavra, the dental hygiene program. ... I've wanted to go there for some time."

Walker also plans to major in biology.

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