2012-2013 MSA Sports Female Athlete of the Year – SHATORI WALKER-KIMBROUGH

Friday, June 28, 2013 | 9:59 PM

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough’s favorite athlete is LeBron James. “It’s actually an obsession with him,” Walker-Kimbrough said with a laugh. “My neighbors hate when the Heat plays on TV.”

But while Walker-Kimbrough looks up to James, she is sort of like her idol in one way.

James is king of the NBA and Walker-Kimbrough is the queen of WPIAL female athletes – again.

Walker-Kimbrough, who graduated from Hopewell High School earlier this month, has won the MSA Sports Girl Athlete of the Year for the third year in a row. She was a three-sport star in the sports of volleyball, basketball and track and field. She was superb as an individual athlete but also led her teams to a great deal of success – just like LeBron.

“When he won the championship this year, I screamed so loud. I was literally obnoxious,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “I just really admire him because I think people overlook his age, how young he still is, but yet he is so mature. I just love the way he carries himself and how hard he works. People doubt him so much, but the more they doubt him, the more he does.”

There is no doubting that Walker-Kimbrough did more than any three-sport athlete in the WPIAL in a long time. In her career, she won one WPIAL basketball championship, one WPIAL volleyball championship and three individual championships in track and field. She won the WPIAL Class AAA long jump as a sophomore and senior and also won the triple jump as a senior.

Walker-Kimbrough, who is 6 feet tall, certainly came a long way from her first experience with sports. When she was in fourth grade, she tried out for an Aliquippa girls basketball team, wearing jeans and a sweater. She made the team but she said, “I was bad when I first started playing.”

She was awkward, all legs and still growing into her body. “I was tall but everything was so new to me,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “It was my first sport ever. I had played the piano before. That was my hobby. I was still coming into my own in sports.”

By the time she was a freshman at Hopewell, she was agile and had plenty of skills in basketball. Then she added volleyball and track and field to her resume – and she eventually starred in everything.

Not far into her high school career, she was all-state in basketball and volleyball, and a WPIAL champ in track and field. Along the way, she also developed something else – a work ethic. Last summer, she would regularly wake at 5 a.m. for workouts with her uncle.
“My grandfather was wise and I remember something he said to me when I was, I think, in sixth grade,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “I remember after a game someone asked me how I did and I said I was satisfied with how I did. I remember he said, ‘Shatori, a satisfied man is a dead man.’

“I didn’t really get what that meant then. I was sort of like ‘why are you telling a sixth grader that?’ But after a while I absolutely got what that meant. People would say to me ‘You had a great game,’ but I would think I could’ve done this or could’ve done that. I learned you can’t ever be satisfied.

“When I give advice to younger kids, I always tell them if you think you’re working hard, there is always someone out there who is working 10 times harder than you are. Even today, I hate being outworked.”

Although Division I colleges were interested in her for volleyball and basketball, she figured out basketball was her best sport. She finished her career with 2,427 points. As a senior, she did everything for Montour but work the scoreboard. She averaged 28 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 blocks.

Walker-Kimbrough was ranked among the top 100 basketball players in the country this season and she signed with the University of Maryland basketball team. Maryland has a top womens program and was ranked in the top 10 in the country some this past season. Walker-Kimbrough has some lofty goals now, ones that are affected by what she did in high school.

“I do try to make up for things I don’t do,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “Like, I didn’t win a WPIAL volleyball or basketball championship this year. Then I made my goal in track to win two gold medals to make up for the other two sports. I never won a state championship. Now that I’m in college, my goal is to get a natonal championship because that would be the equivalent of a state championship.”

But no matter what Walker-Kimbrough accomplishes the rest of the way, she left an everlasting impression on WPIAL sports.


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