Feb. 26, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Washington's pole vault tradition added another impressive chapter today, as former Husky standouts Brad Walker and Scott Roth placed first and second at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, both earning spots on Team USA for the upcoming IAAF World Indoor Championships. For Walker, it is his fourth career USA Indoor title, but his first since 2008.
Walker and Roth combined for five NCAA titles while at Washington under current assistant coach Pat Licari. Roth just won the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in 2011 in his senior season, and will now compete in his first World Championships, while Walker won the gold at the 2006 World Indoor Championships and the 2007 World Outdoor Championships, and he appears to be returning to form in perfect time for the Olympic year. He previously won USA Indoor titles in 2005, 2006, and 2008, to go with three Outdoor national titles.
Competing at the ABQ Convention Center, Walker did not enter until the bar was up to 18-feet, 2-inches, which he cleared on his first attempt. At that point, Roth had cleared 17-4 ½ on his second attempt, and 17-11 ¾ on his first attempt. Roth would go on to clear 18-4 ½ on his second try. Only one other vaulter, Mark Hollis of Nike, made that bar, and he needed three tries so Roth won the tiebreaker. Roth missed at 18-9 ¼ which would have matched his career best.
Walker went on to clear 18-9 ¼ on his first jump, then continued to roll with a first attempt clearance of 19-2 ¾. He then had the bar set at 19-8 ¼ which would have been the new American indoor record. Walker already holds the American record outdoors. He missed all three attempts at the mark today, however.
"I'm happy with the way I felt and the way I jumped, but technically there are some things I can work on and improve," said Walker, who will be looking to make his second Olympic team later this year.
The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be held March 9-11 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Also in action today was nine-time Husky All-American Norris Frederick, who placed third in the long jump with a best of 26-2 ¾. Frederick could also be in the mix for a Team USA spot depending on who declares for Worlds. Eight-time All-American Katie (Follett) Mackey was seventh out of 20 competitors in the women's 1,500-meters, running 4:22.43.