Brad Walker Wins U.S. Pole Vault Title
June 27, 2009
EUGENE, Ore. - Former Husky great Brad Walker captured his third outdoor national pole vault title today on the third day of the U.S. Track & Field Championships at Oregon's Hayward Field. Walker, a Mountlake Terrace resident, bounced back well after a disappointing no height showing at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
The reigning World Champion, Walker only had to compete to be awarded an automatic bid to the 2009 World Championships coming up in August in Berlin. However, he did not settle for merely showing up, clearing 18-2 ½ on his first attempt and then passing up to 18-10 ¼ which he also cleared on his first try. Three additional vaulters cleared that bar but all had earlier misses so Walker won the tiebreaker.
'I came in knowing I had the bye to the Worlds being the defending World Champion so I wasn't pressed, I wasn't stressed,' Walker said. 'I thought everyone would clear 5.70 but I thought I had a good chance to win at 5.75 [18-10 ¼].'
Walker previously won the U.S. Outdoor title in 2005 and 2007. He holds the American record at 19-9 ¾, and feels confident he can go much higher than the winning bar today.
'I was coming off a short approach so I wasn't close to being at 100-percent of what I can actually jump,' Walker said. 'I know I can jump significantly higher but I didn't want to push the approach.'
Current Husky junior-to-be Scott Roth finished an impressive eighth with a best clearance of 18-2 ½. Both Roth and Walker have learned their trade under UW assistant Pat Licari. Roth was runner-up at the 2009 NCAA Championships earlier this month at Arkansas.
There were a number of other great showings by Huskies today. 2008 grad Norris Frederick, a nine-time All-American, placed ninth among a field of 27 in the long jump final with a wind-aided mark of 26-1 ¾. He was just one inch short of the eighth spot which would have earned him three more attempts.
In the men's 200-meter dash, recent grad and Bothell native Jordan Boase placed 23rd out of 34 sprinters with a time of 20.80.
Kelly McNamee, having just finished her freshman campaign, tied for third in the U.S. Junior Championships high jump competition, clearing 5-feet, 8-inches. Fellow freshman Ryan Soberanis competed in the junior 800-meter run but struggled to a time of 1:54.82.
Tomorrow's final day of competition will feature redshirt frosh Mel Lawrence in the final of the women's steeplechase, and 2007 graduate Ryan Brown in the men's 800-meter final. Both races will be televised live on CBS starting at 1 p.m.