May 31, 2002
BATON ROUGE, La. - Washington junior Brad Walker established a school record in the pole vault Friday en route to a second-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Track and Field Championships at Louisiana State University's Bernie Moore Stadium.
Walker's placing, which earned the Spokane, Wash., native his second All-American accolade, scored eight points for Washington, bringing the Husky men into a tie for 15th overall through nine events. Host Louisiana State took a commanding lead with 29 points, while top-ranked UCLA extended its edge in the women's standings with a whopping 44 points through 12 events.
Walker had no trouble clearing the bar at 18-feet, 2 1/2 inches, a full inch and a half beyond the previous school record of 18-1 established by Walker earlier this season. Only Walker and former Husky Garth Willard, whose best mark of 18-0 1/2 in 1992 stood for 10 years as the school record, have ever cleared the 18-foot mark in a Husky uniform.
University of Texas senior Brian Hunter, the nation's top-ranked competitor in the event, earned the championship with a stadium-record vault of 18-8 1/4. Walker, who entered the event in a tie for third overall, cleared the record-setting height on his second attempt, then missed all three attempts at 18-6 1/2.
Walker two weeks ago earned his first Pac-10 pole vault title, vaulting 18-0 1/2. An All-American indoors in 2001, Walker placed 12th at the NCAA outdoor meet before undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Since returning to action in March, Walker has posted three of the top-four vaults in UW history, culminating with Friday's school-record performance.
Washington's women will try to get on the scoreboard tomorrow, as junior Courtney Inman competes in the finals of the 1,500-meter run. For complete schedules and results of the 2002 NCAA Track and Field Championships, visit www.ncaachampionships.com, or www.lsusports.com.