Feb. 28, 2005
BOSTON - Former UW All-American Brad Walker captured his first USA indoor title Sunday, clearing 18 feet, 6 1/2 inches to win the pole vault at the 2005 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Boston's Reggie Lewis Center. With the win, Walker became the second Husky to win a national title in the past seven months, joining 2004 U.S. discus champion Aretha Hill, a 1998 UW grad.
The Spokane native and 2004 Washington graduate needed just one attempt at the winning height, claiming the victory when Oregon sophomore Tommy Skipper -- the only other vaulter remaining in the competition -- missed on all three of his attempts at 18-6 1/2. With the U.S. title in hand, Walker moved the bar to 19-0 1/4, but missed his three attempts.
Walker's win was his first in USA championships competition. The Pac-10 record holder and two-time NCAA indoor champion placed fourth at last year's USA Indoor Championships, and was the sixth-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
"I gained more control during the competition, after having a shaky warm-up," the newly-crowned American champion said after the event. "Other than that, I felt pretty good with my overall performance today, and happy to win my first (U.S.) championship. I came in and did what I wanted to do."
The victory bookends an outstanding indoor season for Walker, which began with a victory over American record holder Jeff Hartwig, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Nick Hysong and 2003 USA indoor champion Toby Stevenson at the prestigious National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev. Walker cleared a personal-best 19-1 1/2 in the Summit win, the third-best mark in the world this year.
For complete results of the 2005 USA Indoor Championships, visit www.usatf.org.