Tracey Walker, a Las Positas freshman and Fire Technology student, was a star basketball player at Santa Clara University and also played professional basketball in Iceland.
Walker is not a typical LPC student as she graduated from Santa Clara and served in the Navy for nine years prior to enrolling in the fire science program at LPC. Not only is she the first family member on her mother’s side to graduate college, but she also played professional women’s basketball after college.
Walker began her basketball career playing at Valley Christian High School in San Jose where she was named Central Coasts Freshman, Sophomore and Senior Player of the year. Her senior year she averaged 25 points per game, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
At Santa Clara University she was very successful in basketball. Walker was only the 18th player to earn 1,000 career points at Santa Clara. She also holds the record for the most games played by any player at Santa Clara University, 120 games. During her senior year, she started in all 29 games and averaged over 37 minutes per game. She averaged 12.7 points per game her senior year.
After graduating from Santa Clara, Walker’s agent sent films to several teams, and she was given a contract to play in Iceland for the Keflavík Women’s Basketball Club. The Keflavik team is Iceland’s most successful women’s basketball team with 16 national championships.
Her professional career was short lived as she resigned from the team after a few months. She experienced culture shock in Iceland and was homesick. Living in Iceland was a challenge as she was one of the only Black Americans in the country. Walker found that she often received unwanted attention by people pointing and staring at her as they had not seen many Black people. She also realized that she enjoyed playing in front of family and friends, but she did not have family and friends at the games in Iceland due to the distance, time and expense of traveling from California to Iceland.
The food was also a shock in the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables in Iceland are grown in greenhouses or flown in, making them expensive if available. Icelanders’ diet is heavy on fish. People in Iceland eat fish 6 or 7 days a week and even have fish for breakfast.
Walker returned to the United States not sure what to do. One evening a cousin’s boyfriend told her about his Navy experience. Walker found his stories about the travel and fun in the Navy to be interesting. Based on his stories, Walker then enlisted in the Navy and was trained as an Air Traffic controller.
She traveled the world on a cruise while stationed on USS Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier. During the cruise, Walker played on the Roosevelt basketball team where they played a game against a team from Bahrain during a port stop. Walker also served on the USS Vinson and was onboard the Vinson during the ship’s overhaul in Bremerton, Washington.
While in the Navy, Walker qualified for both Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Surface Warfare Specialist. Both qualifications require obtaining the knowledge required, demonstrating the required skills, taking a written test and passing an oral board. Not many sailors qualify both surface warfare and aviation warfare specialists.
An air traffic controller sits for long hours in one place which is not Walker’s style. She wants to be active as her hobbies are outdoor activities such as hiking. She decided to leave the Navy to pursue another career, which is how she ended up at Las Positas College. She is remaining in the Navy Reserves as she enjoyed her Navy experience.
Walker chose the Fire Technology program as she wants a job that is exciting and active. After graduation, she plans to apply to fire districts that are very active or for Cal Fire. Cal Fire is the organization that fights the forest fires within California.
Walker will be part of the panel discussion on March 10 at the Las Positas College Veterans First Program Honoring Women Veterans event. The event will be virtual. For more information https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unstoppablewomenveterans-lpc-honoring-women-veterans-tickets-141212509417. The event is free.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @AlanLew89343503.