Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brad Walker & Kara Patterson win national titles in Eugene...

EUGENE, Oregon--Pole vaulter Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace and javelin thrower Kara Patterson from Vancouver each emerged victorious as day 3 of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships concluded at Eugene’s Hayward Field.

Although all Walker needed to do to formally place himself on the team was simply compete in the meet, Walker’s 2009 season debut was successful as the 2007 world champion was a master of efficiency, needing only a total of two clearances to emerge victorious at 18-10 1/4 (5.75 meters).

Walker opened the season by clearing 18-2 1/2 (5.55m), then passed two consecutive heights before clearing 18-10 1/4.

“I came in knowing I had the bye to the Worlds being the defending World Champion so I wasn’t pressed, I wasn’t stressed. I thought everyone would clear 5.70 but I thought I had a good chance to win at 5.75.”

Walker jumped today off a shorter than normal approach, and felt he wasn’t close to being at 100% capable of what he’s able to jump.

He told that he is scheduled to compete in London at the end of July with Monte Carlo and possibly one or two meets on the docket before the world championships.

Washington’s Scott Roth finished in a tie for eighth at 18-2 1/2.

In winning her second straight USA national title at Hayward Field, Patterson, who had only been throwing around 195 feet or so in the run-up to these championships, achieved the A standard for the world championships, and threatened the American record of 210-7 (64.19m) set by Kim Kreiner in 2007, as the Vancouver native threw 209-10 (63.95m) to become the second best American performer of all time.

“I was excited to get a PR and get the A standard!”

She explained that she had been working on the finish of her throw in practice. “I know that I still can do better than that (her winning throw). I don’t think I executed it as well as I could’ve, but to get a hint of things to come in the season is pretty exciting.”

Here’s a video interview with Patterson:

2007 world championships team member Ginnie Powell, formerly from Seattle’s Rainier Beach HS advanced to the second round of the 100 hurdles, running a wind-aided 12.68 to finish second in her heat.

In the 400 hurdles, Washington State’s two-time NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson moved on to Sunday’s final, running 48.89 to finish behind Olympic silver medalist Bershawn Jackson, who won with a time of 48.80.

In the women’s heptathlon, former Washington State standout Diana Pickler (left/photo by Mike Scott) currently stands second, as the Olympian scored 3768 points to conclude day 1 of the two-day event.

Despite trailing Olympic teammate Hyleas Fountain by 270 points, Pickler remained optimistic about her chances Sunday.

“I’m really excited about tomorrow. I was a bit conservative in the hurdles, and the high jump was solid. I have not competed in a while, so I’m pumped up for Sunday.”

Complete results from the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

The USA Junior Track & Field Championships, which are being held concurrently with the senior championships, had several significant competitors with Washington ties participating.

WSU freshman Joe Abbott from Reno had the top time in the junior men's 800m prelims of 1:49.78. He will run in the final Sunday at 4:25 p.m. PT. Abbott finished seventh in the Pac-10 800m race ran a PR time of 1:48.97 in the prelims of the NCAA West Regionals.

Abbott said, “The plan was to stay behind everyone until about 300 meters to go and then make my move to win the heat and get into the final.”

“Since the NCAA regionals, I’ve been training at home in Reno, which has been a lot warmer than in Eugene. When we’ve come here from Pullman, it would be like 50 degrees and then when we’d arrive in Eugene, it would be 70 or so and it would feel like it was about 100.”

WSU's J Hopkins (Everett) advanced to the junior men's 400m hurdles final after running a prelim time of 52.62, second place in the third heat and fourth-fastest time of the first round.

In the junior women's javelin championships, WSU's Courtney Kirkwood (Othello) took third place with a throw of 146-feet, 9 inches (44.74m), well-below her PR toss of 170-8 (52.01m), and just missed advancing to the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, July 31-Aug. 2, in Trinidad.

Washington’s Kelly McNamee finished third in the women’s high jump with a mark of 5-8 (1.73m).

Results from the USA Junior Championships can be accessed here.

The USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships conclude Sunday, with coverage on NBC Sports from 1-3 pm, pacific time. Events are also being streamed via, and media partner

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