May 18, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. - Husky senior Mike Hill won the Pac-10 steeplechase title Saturday, and junior Brad Walker earned the pole vault crown as Washington opened postseason competition with the conference championship meet at Mooberry Track Complex on the Washington State University campus.
The 23rd-ranked Husky men are currently seventh among the nine teams competing at the meet, with 22 points. Stanford leads all men's competitors with 58 points. Washington is also seventh on the women's side, with the 13th-ranked Huskies totaling 17 points, trailing the Cardinal also, who lead with 51.
Hill's time of 8 minutes, 54.19 seconds was more than five seconds better than his nearest competitor, Jeremy Rasmussen of Arizona State, who placed second in 8:59.31. A national qualifier in the event, Hill earned his first Pac-10 title, and the sixth for Washington's men's team in the past three seasons. The Bellevue, Wash., native's much anticipated head-to-head matchup with top conference qualifier Jesse Thomas of Stanford failed to materialize, as the favorite placed fifth in 9:03.54.
Spokane native Walker, meanwhile, delighted the many family and friends in attendance at the meet with a vault of 18-feet, 1/2 inch that bettered the elite field by more than five inches. The third-ranked national competitor in the event, Walker entered the conference meet riding the crest of his best collegiate season. After undergoing foot surgery following an All-American performance in 2002, Walker shattered a 10-year old school record with a vault of 18-feet, one inch at this month's dual meet with Washington State, on the same pole vault apparatus used in today's championships.
In addition to Washington's two champions, several Huskies excelled on the meet's first day.
Juniors Heather Reichmann and Megan Spriestersbach each earned top-10 finishes in the javelin for the second-consecutive season. Reichmann placed seventh with a career-best throw of 158-3, among the top-25 marks in the nation in 2002, while Spriestersbach was the eighth-place finisher inn 154-11.
Senior Zee Ogarro added nearly seven inches to her season-best in the long jump, leaping 19-7 1/2 in a sixth-place effort. Kate Bradshaw, the conference's 10,000-meter champion in 2000, placed third in the event in 36:54.08, closely followed by fifth-place finisher Lisa Gibbs and eighth-place finisher Jamie Gibbs.
Washington's Seth Jens also earned a top-10 finish, placing seventh in the javelin with a throw of 201-0.
The Huskies will close out Pac-10 competition Sunday, before heading to Baton Rouge, La. for the NCAA Championships in two weeks.