Feb. 28, 2004
BOSTON, Ma. - Washington senior All-American Brad Walker, the 2003 NCAA indoor pole vault champion, came within six inches of earning a trip to next week's 2004 IAAF World Championships, with an impressive fourth-place finish at Saturday's 2004 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships at Boston's Reggie Lewis Center.
The top two finishers in each event at the three-day meet earned spots on the U.S. team that will travel to Budapest next weekend for what will be the largest international track and field competition before August's Olympic Games.
Ranked in a tie for fifth among U.S. vaulters entering the meet, Walker cleared his opening height of 17 feet, 8 1/2 inches on his first attempt, then passed at 18-0 1/2 before notching a first-attempt clearance at 18-4 1/2, second-best by a collegiate vaulter this season. Misses on all three attempts at 18-8 1/2 finally brought an end to competition for the three-time All-American, who placed just ahead of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Nick Hysong and 2002 U.S. indoor champ Timothy Mack.
Former Stanford star Toby Stevenson, who four weeks ago took the world lead with a vault of 19-0 3/4 at Dempsey Indoor, matched that mark to win the 2004 U.S. indoor title, and will join runner-up Russ Buller on the United States' 2004 World Championships squad.
Walker won the 2003 NCAA indoor title with a Pac-10 record vault of 19-0 1/4 that ranked third in the world last season, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Championships. The senior will defend his indoor title at March's NCAA Championships, before focusing on qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
For complete results of the 2004 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.