Bucknell commit Fischer caps golden Hampton career at WPIALs
Thursday, June 13, 2019 | 11:19 PM
It has been at least a decade since Hampton had a WPIAL champion runner. That changed this year.
Valerie Fischer had been a strong track and field performer for years. She was a two-time state qualifier in the 400-meter dash and ran on Hampton’s state-qualifying relay team last year.
Now, Fischer can call herself a WPIAL champion in the 400. The senior credited a tougher workout routine for her success.
“At the beginning of the season I pushed myself harder,” she said. “I did harder workouts, did some distance workouts to build up my endurance and speed. The weather was a little rough at the beginning of the season, but I pushed through it.”
Fischer comes from a family of athletes. Her two sisters, Victoria and Vanessa, were multisport athletes.
“They did everything, so I always wanted to do everything. So I just grew up playing sports. I really found I liked soccer and track.”
Fischer also helped the Hampton girls soccer team advance to the second round of the state playoffs last fall.
She decided to leave the club soccer scene early in her high school career and focus on track.
The decision paid off: She will join the Bucknell team next year.
“It was definitely a hard decision because I was getting recruited for soccer,” Fischer said.
“But I talked with my family and myself. I love track and couldn’t see myself doing anything else. So that’s what I focused on.”
The decision is an exhibit for Hampton track and field coach Derek Brinkley, who always encourages multisport athletes to consider track. Brinkley ran track and played football at IUP.
“She’s a heck of a soccer player and got involved in club,” he said. “It’s a constant tug of war trying to manage both. But she started to focus more on track, and here she is running D-I. Every year we tell kids that, and it’s a struggle.”
Fischer, who plans to major in engineering, liked Bucknell because of its academic advantages, though she also was contacted by prestigious institutions such as the Naval Academy.
“When you think about Bucknell, first you think about how prestigious it is in the classroom,” Brinkley said. “She’s super smart. It’s fantastic for her. It’s a D-I program, so you have really good athletes. It’s just far enough away from here that we don’t hear much about them, but you can see the quality of the program it really is.”