Starting the first three years of her college career in the Southland Conference, cross country runner Samantha Walkow took a big chance transferring from Lamar University to Purdue her senior year.

That chance is already paying off after Walkow was named Big Ten Co-Runner of the Week on Sept. 4, just a few days after her first race as a runner in the Big Ten.

“I was pretty surprised because this was just a small meet. It was a big honor and a big surprise and I was happy to get it.” Walkow said.

Walkow transferred to Purdue from the Southland Conference, a conference consisting of 12 teams including Central Arkansas, Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese State, and Lamar.

“Southland was small but still very competitive between certain schools.” Walkow said. “The Big Ten is much more intense and I like that.”

The Vancouver native is really happy she made the transition to Purdue and said she really enjoys being at a bigger academic school.

“There are a lot of changes, but they’re really good changes.” Walkow said. “This is a great group of people. It’s really nice being on a big team.”

Dana Payonk, a redshirt on the team, said Walkow has joined in very well with the Purdue team.

“It can be hard to have someone, especially someone who’s an upperclassman, join in that late. I feel like we’ve been running together a lot longer than just four weeks.” Payonk said.

Payonk said she likes how Walkow was able to come in not knowing anybody and lead a very young women’s team.

“With her experience at collegiate running she was able to jump in and take the lead and that’s given us something to strive for, someone else up there to help push us along since we don’t have many people up there,” Payonk said.

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