Player Spotlight: Rachel Walker

Joe Dao, Sports Writer

Rachel Walker is the starting setter for the Wayne State College Women’s Volleyball Team.  

Though she is a senior, she is marked as a technical junior this year due to a COVID year. Even though she played her freshman year at Auburn High School and her last three years were spent at Lincoln Southwest High School, she was born in Holdrege.  

“It will always be home to me,” Walker said.  

Growing up, she was always in the gym. Her mom was actually the head volleyball coach at Holdrege High School and Walker loved being around the girls and attending practices. Although she tried other sports such as basketball and track and field, she stuck with volleyball and played it year-round with clubs and within her school.  

“I stuck with volleyball because that was my first love,” Walker said.  

Throughout Walker’s volleyball career, she has had many accomplishments with First Team All-City for three years, Second Team All-State for Class A and First Team All-Conference for three years just in high school. Meanwhile in college, she has achieved Premier All-Tournament Team for two years, Second Team All-Conference and Two-Time Setter of the Week awards.  

She said she has played for Volleyball Club Nebraska for the 13s-18s teams and had great success within those age groups. She won the National Championship in 2016.  

“Our team worked hard and were the underdogs, but we believed and got the job done in the end,” Walker said.  

Not only did she do good on the court, but she did well off it with four years of Academic All-State in high school and an Academic All-Conference award in college.  

“I have always had good grades,” Walker said. “My parents made that a priority.” 

Rachel is currently working towards an elementary education major as well as K-6 special education and plans on moving back to Lincoln or around that area, in hopes of coaching volleyball. She would also like to get her masters in 7-12 special education.  

While trying to find a place to call home for college, she attended a volleyball camp hosted by Southwest which was being coached by Scott Kneifl, who is currently the WSC volleyball head coach.  

“I loved his coaching style, and we had a great bond and I guess the rest is just history,” Walker said.  

She wanted to compete at a high level as well as compete for something and believed that WSC was the perfect fit for that.  

“Being here and creating the relationships I have, has truly transformed my view of myself and what makes me who I am,” Walker said.  

She credits her parents, Club Director Maggie Griffin, Kneifl and friends on how she has shaped both her volleyball and regular life. If she had to just choose just one who has influenced her the most, she’d choose her parents.  

“I truly look up to them in all aspects of my life,” Walker said. “They were great athletes; they are great teachers and coaches and they have been the best parents.” 

She acknowledges her teammates on the success their team has been having this season.  

“My passers do their job, so that I can do my job, so my attackers can execute theirs,” Walker said. “We have bought in to this team and to each other and it has just been so fun. It truly is the power of 12 this year, it takes every single one of us.”