May 17, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Washington senior Brad Walker on Saturday became the first Husky in 15 years to win consecutive conference championships, fighting off a pair of stiff challenges to win the pole vault at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships at USC's Cromwell Field.
Walker's mark of 18 feet, 2 ˝ inches matched that of UCLA's Yoo Kim, but the Husky earned the title by virtue of fewer misses at a previous height. The Spokane, Wash., native won his first Pac-10 title in 2002, and Saturday joined javelin thrower Darryl Roberson (1988-89) and decathlete Mike Ramos (1983-84) as the only UW athletes to win consecutive conference titles since the Pac-8 expanded to 10 teams in 1979.
"It was a great competition today, with a lot of guys really stepping it up," said Walker. "Early on, there was a good wind at our backs, but toward the end it turned around and became a little bit of a headwind. I would've liked to have PR'd, but I'm certainly happy to have won."
The Spokane, Wash., native, whose winning mark of 19-feet, 0 Ľ inches at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships was the world's third-best this year, entered the meet as a one-foot favorite, but faced strong competition from a pair of vaulters who combined had cleared the 18-foot mark just once.
Walker, Kim and USC's Jeff Ryan each cleared 17-6 ˝ on their second attempts, the latter setting a personal-best in the process. When both Walker and Ryan cleared 17-10 ˝ after Kim had missed on the same height, the UCLA vaulter passed up to 18-2 ˝, which he cleared on his first attempt to set a Korean record. Walker matched Kim at 18-2 ˝ and Ryan passed, before missing both of his attempts at 18-6. Walker and Kim also both missed on all three attempts at 18-6, with Walker winning due to Kim's earlier pass.
A complete recap of all UW action on the first day of Pac-10 Championships competition, including final Day One team scores, will follow shortly after the final event of the evening, scheduled for 6:40 p.m.