By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock track and field stars Walker, McFarlane sign with colleges
Olivia Walker signing
Turlock High sprinter and high-jumper Olivia Walker signed on to compete for Cal State Fullerton (Photo contributed).

Two members of Turlock High’s track and field team recently signed letters of intent to compete next season at the NCAA Division I level.

Sprinter and high-jumper Olivia Walker, and pole-vaulter Max McFarlane, both seniors, signed with Cal State Fullerton and the U.S. Air Force Academy, respectively.

“I felt like Fullerton was the best fit for me,” said Walker, who captured Sac-Joaquin Section championships last year in the 400-meter dash, the high jump, and 4x400 relay, while helping the Bulldogs to the team title. “The coach (Marques Barroso) has been recruiting me since last year and I have a nice relationship with him. I connected well with the team during my official visit, and the campus is so beautiful.”

Walker, the sister of Stanislaus State basketball player Cameron Walker, used to travel with her brother for AAU basketball tournament and knew she wanted to attend school in the southern half of the state.

“I developed a liking to Southern California and always envisioned attending school there.”

Walker competes in the 200, 400, 4x100, 4x400 and the high jump for the Bulldogs. 

“I can see Fullerton using me as a long sprinter — the 200, 400 and the 4x400 relay — in college,” said Walker, who plans to major in kinesiology and hopes to one day be a trainer for professional sports franchise. “I’d be open to high jumping in college, too.”

Max McFarlane signing
Turlock High pole-vaulter Max McFarlane signed on to compete for the U.S. Air Force Academy (Photo contributed).

McFarlane won the Sac-Joaquin Section and Masters titles in the pole vault last year and finished tied for second at the state meet. He chose Air Force mainly because of the coaching staff.

“Coach (Scott) Steffan coached an Olympian (Cale Simmons) and I really liked all the coaches,” said the 6-foot-4, 190-pound McFarlane. “I liked the facilities, too.”

McFarlane will be required to serve a five-year stint in the USAF upon graduation, but is unsure if he wants to extend his career in the military.

“I figure I’ll cross that bridge once my five years are up,” said McFarlane.

Last season, McFarlane’s personal best was 16 feet, 5 inches — which came in the section meet at Bella Vista (Orangevale) High School — and that was 11 inches better than his PR entering his junior campaign. He believes that kind of improvement is possible once again.

“I think so,” said McFarlane, who hopes to break the existing state record (18-2 1/2), while defending his section titles and winning a state crown. “I’m faster, stronger and I’m using bigger poles. 

“Last year was kind of a rough year for me and I still managed to improve my PR by nearly a foot.”