By Justin Smith
Special to TideSports
Keitavious Walter is coming off a 2018 outdoor track and field season where he was first-team All-SEC and competed in the NCAA Championships.
Now he must be more focused than ever while preparing for the 2019 indoor postseason.
Walter, from Ruston, Louisiana, is a senior sprinter for the Alabama men’s team. An injury has impacted his running technique, but he feels he is getting back to where he once was.
“The main technique that I have been trying to work on is my take off,” Walter said. “I have to jump out of the blocks.”
He ran a 6.69 in the 60-meter finals at the Carolina Challenge, his first meet of the season, on Feb. 2 in Columbia, South Carolina. Walter has continued to put in work to improve and has seen some of his hard work paying off quickly.
“The training that I am going through is really paying off right now,” Walter said. “I just have to get everything together and get everything to flow.”
Alabama assistant coach Blaine Whiley has worked closely with Walter this indoor season. He said he feels Walter is showing progress, but he is a bit rusty and has a few things to work on.
Whiley also feels Walter has an edge that will push him to get to where he wants to be, which comes from his junior college background Hinds County Community College in Raymond, Mississippi. There, he won the 200 meters at the 2017 NJCAA indoor and outdoor championships and was a member of the 2017 NJCAA 4X100 meter relay championship team for Hinds.
Joining the Crimson Tide in 2018 was a complete no-brainer for Walton, who grew up an Alabama fan in the middle of LSU territory.
“People always asked ‘Why didn’t you stay home?’ ” Walter said. “I wanted to be different and start my own journey somewhere else and that is with no disrespect to anyone from Louisiana.”
Whiley has seen the determination junior college products like Walter has brought to the table and feels the little things will determine how well Walter performs the rest of this season.
“I heard a wise man once say that you never forget how to be fast,” Whiley said. “He has not forgotten how to be fast, but being fast is not enough. He has to be able to execute the different phases of the race.”
Alabama will be back in action Friday in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the Tyson Invitational. Walter will run in the 60 meters and the 200 meters. The rest of the Alabama men and women teams will be split between the Tyson Invitational, the Iowa State Classic in Ames Iowa, and the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee.