Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball program has extended its recruiting reach across the Pacific to round out its Class of 2019.
Lauryn Walker, a combo guard from Sydney, Australia, joins a highly decorated recruiting class which also features B.C.-trained talents Deanna Tuchscherer, Maddy Gobeil, Jessica Parker and Nikki Cabuco.
UFV has had varsity athletes from Australia before – Wayne Jones (1999-00 and 2001-02) and James Elliott (2009-11) suited up for the UFV men’s basketball squad – but Walker will be the first from Down Under to play for Cascades women’s basketball.
“With a lot of international recruits who reach out to you, often they’re connecting with a number of universities on both sides of the border,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “She was one that caught our eye a little bit and we followed up, as we do with a few. It ended up being a good fit for both of us.
“I like her style of play – she can shoot the ball and finish at the rim. And once we got to know her, she seemed like a really quality person. We got to meet her mother, and it just felt like there was a good connection there.”
Walker, who stands 5’8”, is coming off a highly accomplished youth basketball career. She’s been part of the prestigious National Intensive Training Program since 2014, and represented New South Wales (NSW) on a number of occasions, participating in the Australian Basketball Championships and the National East Coast Challenge at the U16 and U18 levels. She was also selected for the NSW D League, which brings together to top 40 athletes in their age class in the state, and was a three-time winner of the Most Outstanding Player award for her Meriden School team.
Walker is also a track and field standout – she twice ran qualification times for the Oceania Youth Championships in the 400-metre hurdles (2015 and 2016), and competed at multiple age-class national championships in the heptathlon and hurdles. She’s a three-time medal winner at the NSW Junior Athletics Championships, winning gold in the 200m hurdles (2015, U16) and bronze in the heptathlon and 400m hurdles (2016, U17).
“Studying and playing overseas has always been a goal of mine through all of high school, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity I have at the University of the Fraser Valley,” Walker said. “It will allow me to play at a new athletic level and compete with the best of the best, improving my game. It will also allow me to have a new cultural experience and gain a degree in the supportive environment that UFV has.
“I was always on the border between pursuing American and Canadian options, however as soon as I came across UFV and became invested in the system it became quickly clear that it ticked all my boxes. As soon as I had my first Skype call I knew that there was something really special about this place and I am really excited to be under the guidance of Coach Al. He is such humble and talented coach and has created such a family within the Cascades. I feel it is going to be a very valuable experience that will benefit my basketball and allow me to be a part of a beautiful community. I am really looking forward to being a Cascade.”
The Cascades’ Canada West regular-season opener is Nov. 1 at the Winnipeg Wesmen, with their home opener slated for Nov. 15 vs. the UBC Okanagan Heat.