April 5, 2003
AUSTIN, Texas - University of Washington senior Brad Walker took second place in the pole vault Saturday at the Texas Relays, helping Washington finish an exciting week at the prestigious four-day meet. Walker was one of three Huskies to post marks exceeding the NCAA Regional standards in Saturday's competition at the meet, which featured more than 5,000 athletes in 125 events, including six Olympic gold medallists.
The reigning NCAA indoor champion in the event, Walker cleared 18 feet, 0 ˝ inches, a height matched only by Texas Tech's Bobby Most, who earned the title based on the event's tiebreaker system. Walker did outduel 2002 NCAA outdoor champion Brian Hunter, formerly of the University of Texas, who was the only vaulter to outperform Walker at last year's NCAA meet. Hunter placed third overall Saturday, with a clearance of 17'-8 ˝".
Currently the NCAA's top-ranked male pole vaulter, Walker won the NCAA indoor title in March with a clearance of 19'-0 Ľ" that was tops in Pac-10 history, and equaled the third-best mark in the world during the 2003 indoor season. Walker is one of just eight collegians ever to top 19 feet in the event, and currently ranks sixth in NCAA history.
Also excelling in the vault for Washington was sophomore Kate Soma, who took sixth in the women's event with a clearance of 12'-7 ˝". The Huskies' school-record holder in the event both indoors and out, Soma will seek a third-straight NCAA Championships bid at this year's NCAA Regional meet in May, for which she is already qualified. Oregon's Becky Holliday took home the Texas Relays title with a mark of 13'-5 Ľ".
Wrapping up Washington's competition at the prestigious meet was junior Brittiny Roberts, who took 13th in the triple jump with a mark of 40'-8 Ľ". Already an NCAA qualifier in both the high and triple jumps, Roberts is one of just five Husky women ever to clear 40 feet in the latter, with an outdoor best mark of 41'-4 ˝" that ranks second all-time at Washington.
Roberts, Walker and Soma - each of whose marks Saturday bettered the NCAA Regional qualifying standards - all own marks this season beyond those achieved in Texas, and lead a contingent of 23 Husky athletes qualified for the NCAA meet just three weeks into the 2003 outdoor season.
After a successful week in Texas, the Huskies return home to prepare for dual meets against Oregon, Colorado and Minnesota at next weekend's Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Ore.
For complete results of the Texas Relays, visit www.texassports.com.