Huskies' Walker Tops Elite Six-Meter Mark
July 20, 2006
JOCKGRIM, Germany - Former Husky Brad Walker on Wednesday cemented his spot among the world's elite pole vaulters, clearing six meters -- 19-feet, 8 ¼ inches -- at the 2006 Stabhochsprung Meeting in Jockgrim, Germany.
Only 12 vaulters in the history of the world have cleared the elite six-meter mark, including just four Americans. The 25-year-old Walker, a Spokane native and 2004 Washington graduate, is the first pole vaulter from any country to do so since 2004, when Olympic gold medalist Tim Mack topped 6.01 meters at the world athletics final.
Walker's vault places him in a five-way tie for eighth on the world's all-time top-10 list in the event, and is equal to the third-best ever by an American vaulter. Russian Sergey Bubka holds the world record at 20-2 (6.15 meters), while Jeff Hartwig is the American record-holder at 19-9 ¼ (6.03m),
'The way Brad's been vaulting lately, I'm not surprised at all,' said Huskies assistant coach Pat Licari, who continues to train Walker in Seattle and accompanied the former Husky to competitions in Israel and Italy earlier this month. 'He's made several attempts at 6.04 [meters, one centimeter beyond the American record] before, and has always been close. That'll be his next target, for sure, now that he's over six [meters].'
A graduate of Spokane's University High School, Walker ranked sixth in NCAA history and set a Pac-10 pole vault record of 19-0 ¼ during his four-year career at Washington, which concluded in 2004 with a successful defense of his 2003 NCAA indoor pole vault title.
Since graduating, Walker has climbed to the top of the pole vault world, winning three U.S. championships and a world indoor title, and earning a silver medal at the 2005 IAAF World Outdoor Championships. In October of 2005, Walker became the first Washington athlete ever to achieve a No. 1 ranking in the IAAF's Event-by-Event World Outdoor Rankings, and is the No. 13-ranked male track and field athlete overall -- a list topped by American sprinter and co-100-meter world record holder Justin Gatlin.
For complete results of the 2006 Stabhochsprung Meeting, visit www.leichtathletik.de.