Friday, January 20, 2012

Brad Walker opens up 2012 campaign by winning elite section of UCS Pole Vault Summit...

RENO, Nevada--Though it's only the first meet of the young 2012 season, University of Washington alum and current American record holder Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) isn't letting people write him off yet.

The 2007 IAAF world champion opened his 2012 campaign with a jump of 19-0 1/4 (5.80m) to win the men's elite section at the UCS Pole Vault Summit at the Reno Livestock Event Center.

Walker got off to an inauspicious start, running through the pit at his opening height of 18-1 1/4 (5.52m), before clearing the bar on his second attempt.

Walker easily cleared 18-5 1/4 (5.62m) on his first attempt, then cleared 19-0 1/4 (5.80m) on his first attempt, before missing all three attempts at 19-4 3/4 (5.91m), which would have been a 2012 indoor world leader.

Courtesy of YouTube, here is video of Walker's jump:

Walker's jump is the second best in the world so far this season, only behind Russia's Dmitry Starodubtsev, who cleared 19-4 1/4 (5.90m) on December 29th. Starodubtsev, who finished fifth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, also has a clearance of 19-0 1/4 set on January 14th.

Since setting the American record at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in 2008, Walker's career has seen a series of ups and downs, including no-heighting in the qualifying round at the Olympics in Beijing, and a crash at the 2009 Herculis meeting in Monaco, in which he was injured, and couldn't defend his world title in Berlin a few weeks later.

Walker's 2011 best was 19-2 (5.84m) in a low-key meet at the US Olympic training center in Chula Vista, California.

University of Washington grad Scott Roth, the 2011 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion, along with training partner Jason Colwick, the 2010 NCAA champ from Rice, were scheduled to compete in Friday's elite pole vault competition, but were unable to leave Seattle due to the snowy conditions.

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