Hernando County’s 2017 Lifter of the Year is no big talker, it’s Central’s Walker

Dominique Walker
Central High’s Dominique Walker became only the second Bear to earn Hernando County’s Lifter of the Year in 15 years.                   Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
BOYS WEIGHTLIFTING

Bears’ state medalist

prefers to allow his

efforts to speak for itself

BY TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

For the first time in 15 years, Hernando County’s top male weightlifter hails from Central High School.

Dominique Walker
Dominique Walker

In 2002, three-time state placer and 2001 state champion Viet Lam was voted by the area coaches as county’s top lifter. That season he returned with a shiny silver medal to add to his collection from the FHSAA State Finals.

The short but stocky Lam was a person of few words. He was driven to success not by what he said, but rather what he did under the bar

Fifthteen years later, CHS’ Dominique Marquis Walker followed Lam’s blue print to the top of the local weightlifting ladder.

Walker 101

Dominique was born in Brooksville as the youngest if three children to Terry and Cecelia Walker.

The Walker’s relocated from Tampa and have called Brooksville home for years.

The current 6-foot-1, 195-pounder didn’t play in any organized sports until he was eight.

Once he joined the West Hernando Cougars recreational football league he alternated between running back and safety for the next five seasons.

Once he entered Powell Middle School, Walker’s promising athletic persona came to light.

Powell Middle School Panthers
Powell Middle School Panthers

As a sixth-grader he concentrated in track and field for the Panthers in the 100, 200 meters and 4×100 relay.

As a seventh-grader, he played football under Ron Blackwell switching from running back to safety.

As an eighth-grader, he not only played football, but also ran track again focusing in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay. That 4×100 squad also won the Hernando County Middle School Athletic Conference Championship.

After matriculating to Nature Coast Technical as a freshman, he played junior varsity football, but opted to transfer after the school year.

As a sophomore at Springstead, he regained his sprint form and was named All-Hernando County in 100 meters.

He also was a two-year starter for the Eagles’ football team and paced the squad in rushing as a junior.

But after his junior campaign at SHS, Walker opted to compete for CHS, where his mother is a teacher.

With the Bears, Walker ranked sixth in tackles as a cornerback with 36.

The raven-haired and brown-eyed Walker also excelled in the weight room under Chris Sands.

As a junior in 2016, Walker competed in seven meets all at 183 pounds He registered three wins all in a row at the Weeki Wachee tri-meet, versus Nature Coast Technical and at Inverness-Citrus.

He placed third in Hernando County Meet at Springstead, third in districts at Bushnell-South Sumter and fourth in regionals at New Port Richey-River Ridge.

In 2017, he enjoyed a breakout campaign producing a county-leading four wins across seven meets.

Bumping up to 199 pounds, Walker opened the season finishing runner-up at the Citrus High tri-meet by five pounds.

He then reeled off three straight wins at Weeki Wachee, Springstead five-way and the 19th Hernando County Championship.

Walker placed runner-up, by five pounds in districts again at Weeki Wachee, before capturing a rare regional championship at Belleview High during 1A-VI Meet.

Walker was one of only two Hernando County lifters who advanced to the FHSAA State Finals at DeLand High School.

In his first effort in the elite meet, he returned home with a fifth-place bronze medal.

Walker’s 325-265—590-pound total served as the county’s high-water mark by any county lifter at any weight class.

Additionally, he improved by 60 pounds over his best total in 2016 (530)

For his stellar efforts, he was not only named All-Hernando County in weightlifting, but edged Hernando High junior Colin Pagels for Hernando County’s Lifter of the Year.

Capping a remarkable senior season, he also signed a Division I football scholarship with FAMU.

Dominique Walker
Central’s Dominique Walker.                                                         Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Coaches chime in with praise

Chris Sands
Chris Sands

“His numbers don’t lie … Every single week he gained strength,” insisted Coach Sands. “He placed fifth at states and was Hernando County’s highest ranked kid … Placing at states is a big accomplishment … He lifts weights just to do it; he prepares his body for football … At Central, he set the tone in our weight room … We’re gonna miss his presence … He’s a quiet kid, who leads by example … He’s the type of athlete who demonstrates that if he can do it, you can too.”

Brandon Nuby
Brandon Nuby

“He represented himself and school well,” explained Weeki Wachee’s Brandon Nuby. “He competed well … He got stronger and pushed the bar.”

“Dominique was a beast,” described Nature Coast Technical’s Jamel Gray. “In his weight class he put up nice numbers … He brings it every meet.”

Kelvontae Roberts
Kelvontae Roberts

On reacting to Lifter of Year, “It’s another honor, another achievement,” grinned Walker. “It makes me feel good. You want to go out on top.

“I have to give credit to Kelvontae (Roberts). I hope he goes to state next year,” projected Walker. “He was the one who pushed me. It was between me and him at who would be the strongest on the team. I wish him the best next year.”

2017 1A-VI BWL Regional Champs1
A rare pair of Class 1A, Region VI champions, Hernando’s Colin Pagels at 219 and Central’s Dominique Walker at 199, both advanced to DeLand High representing Hernando County in the 2017 Class 1A State Finals. Photo by TONY CASTRO

Mirror, mirror

In retrospect, Walker believes he reached some of his goals due to his vast improvement in his power cleans.

Dominique Walker
Dominique Walker

“I practiced my clean-and-jerk every time I could. It was all about repetition,” sighted Walker. “Early on, I never really grasped it. I kept practicing until I thought I had the technique down. When I did, I saw a high jump in my totals.”

“I think looking back I was voted Lifter of the Year not just because I went to states, but that I medaled,” pointed out Walker. “Getting to states is a huge deal, but medaling is an even bigger accomplishment.”

On what remains in his memory bank.

“I’ll always remember that state meet. It’s something, as an athlete you never forget,” noted Walker. “No matter what I do from here on out, I’ve got that state medal.”

In a stark contrast, Walker doesn’t see himself as just a weightlifter.

“For me, competitive weightlifting is a thing of the past,” he said. “I do weightlifting for football. In the arena I’m competing in, it’s (lifting) a huge part of my life.”

As far as any regrets, “Yeah, I’m gonna miss it,” replied Walker. “I’m enjoyed my two years. I loved the whole atmosphere. It’s crazy to think in two years, I walked away with a medal as one of the state’s best. I’m definitely gonna miss it.” 

By the Numbers:

Central’s Dominique Walker in 2017

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Dominique Walker
Dominique Walker
 

OPPONENT

 

WGT

 

BEN

 

C&J

 

TOT

 

PL

Citrus tri-meet

199

305

250

555

2nd

Weeki Wachee

199

285

225

510

1st

Springstead five-way

199

305

235

540

1st

Hernando County

199

315

255

570

1st

Class 1A, District 11

199

315

255

570

2nd

Class 1A, Region VI

199

320

260

580

1st

Class 1A State Finals

199

325

265

590

5th

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