Maddie Ellis ‘22
Former RHS student Mariah Walker recently won the national championship with University of Kentucky’s volleyball team. She has been recognized for some of her best accomplishments with limited college experience.
Walker’s volleyball journey began at a young age from watching her two older sisters play from the sidelines. She eventually gained interest to want to join in on the fun. According to her mother; sophomore English Pre-IB teacher Aimee Walker, said she would sit and would continuously practice until one of the coaches invited her to play, but she did not pursue volleyball competitively until the age of 10.
She continued playing volleyball throughout high school with the Riverview Rams, when they went to the Final Four two years in a row. This opened up multiple college opportunities to expand her passion for volleyball.
Once Walker finished high school in 2020, she decided to go to University of Kentucky for the ability to have a schedule that can allow her to play volleyball in college.
“It has always been a dream of mine, and I could not picture college without volleyball,” Walker said.
Recently, the University of Kentucky’s women’s volleyball program made history for being the first team in the SEC to win the championship. According to Walker, the most memorable moment was when she scored an ace to get ahead; then when one of her teammates said, “we are going to win the championship.”
After a long 10-month season because of Covid-19, getting the comeback win 23-21 for the championship is an unforgettable achievement for Kentucky. The volleyball team is still in disbelief from all the long practices before the final game; according to their defensive player Walker.
For anyone who is considering pursuing volleyball as a passion take Walker’s advice.
She says that success is to “never give up, even when times get tough.”
“Stay focused on the positive end goal, and take steps every day to work towards attaining your goal,” her mother added.
For Walker and the Wildcats’ volleyball team, this once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment is a huge boost for an already outstanding program. For freshman Walker, it is just the incentive to make her go for more next year.