Northview's Brandon Walker excels at more than baseball

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
For many Americans, juggling jobs, hobbies, and social events has become a way of life. However, most wouldn't expect to see a juggling act like the one put in by Northview's Brandon Walker.
The sophomore from McDavid, Fla., is currently batting .345 as a shortstop for the Chiefs, and in addition to that heavy workload, he also participates in Northview's Future Farmers of America program.
In fact, Walker's Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project has garnered him a spot in the Top 4 of Florida's State Star Greenhand competition. An SAE project is a money-earning project supervised by an FFA instructor. Walker has spent the last two years working 16.5 acres in a crop rotation between peanuts and cotton.
"Peanuts and cotton aren't grown much in the area the judges are from," Walker said. "They were surprised to see it grown in Florida."
Northview FFA Sponsor and Agricultural Instructor Perry Byars said that Walker's SAE Project was not the only reason for his honor, but had played a big part.
"It's based on FFA activities, contest, other activities, and Supervised Agricultural Experience," Byars said. "His was mostly the SAE project, although I think his playing baseball also played a part in it. In June, at the state convention, they'll announce the winners out of the four finalists. Regardless of how it turns out, just being a finalist is a big honor."
Walker was interviewed last week by the committee that will choose the State Star Greenhand.
"I felt it went well," Walker said. "I thought I was prepared well and answered all their questions."
Byars was not the only one full of praise for Walker. Northview head baseball coach Chris Poulsen was also happy to have him on board.
"He's just a good, all-around kid," Poulsen said. "He always says 'yes sir' and 'no sir'. If you tell him anything you know it's going to get done and you don't even have to worry about it. All our kids are that way, really, but Brandon especially."
Byars echoed Poulsen's sentiments.
"He's a great student, he's good to have around, and he's very dependable," Byars said. "Give him a project or assignment and it will get done."
While Walker downplayed his many time commitments, he said he felt he had always prepared well.
"Not much," Walker said when asked if he ever felt pressed for time. "It depends on the weather and what I have to do this week. Sometimes I'm pushed for time and sometimes I have time to myself. I do a pretty good budget of my time. It's really nothing extra to do. I've been farming all my life, been doing school all my life, and been playing baseball my entire life."
Walker added that while his size might make him appear to be a power hitter, he has always thrived on contact hitting.
"I always try to hit it where the defense is weak," Walker said. "Since I'm tall I give the impression that I'm strong, but I'm one of the weakest guys on the team. I just try to keep the ball on the ground and make contact."
Poulsen said that Walker's lack of power was compensated for by his work ethic.
"Being a young guy, he hasn't really stepped up vocally as a leader yet," Poulsen said. "But he plays hard every day, and he wants to learn something new every day. He's always asking me questions. That quality is rare these days."
When asked for advice for those in the area, Walker urged participation in any available activity.
"I'd want to motivate people to get involved," Walker said. "Get in a variety of things that way you can experience life to the fullest. As you get older you can focus more on one area, but just focusing on baseball wouldn't be very interesting. I do golf too. Experiencing a lot of things can make life a lot better."

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