Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace (above/photo by Paul Merca) claimed the American record in the pole vault this afternoon to highlight competition at the Nike Prefontaine Classic at Eugene's historic Hayward Field.
The fourth event of USATF's Visa Championship Series, the Nike Prefontaine Classic drew a meet-record 14,221 fans to Hayward Field, site of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field June 27-July 6. They were treated to a formidable show, including no fewer than eight meet records and Walker's AR.
The 2007 world champion, Walker looked magnificent throughout the competition. He had just one miss, at his opening height of 5.70m/18-8.25, then passed to 5.90m/19-4.25, which he cleared on his first attempt and which won the competition for him. Walker then elevated the bar to 6.04m/19-9.75. On his very first attempt, he cleared, brushing the bar just a bit, but leaving it up.
The world-leading clearance broke Jeff Hartwig's American record set in 2000 of 6.03m/19-9.25 and also bested living legend Sergey Bubka's meet record of 5.95m/19-6.25. It was the highest clearance in the world since 2001.
After two tries at a world-record height of 6.15/20-2, Walker called it a day. Derek Miles finished second at 5.80m/19-0.25, with Olympic gold medalist Tim Mack third with 5.70m/18-8.25.
NOTE: More from the Nike Prefontaine Classic later this evening, as paulmerca.blogspot.com is en route to Seattle from Eugene...we wanted to get the photo up of his American record clearance!