Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brad Walker faces stacked field in Pole Vault at the Mall...

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa--University of Washington alum Brad Walker (above/photo courtesy Drake Relays) returns to Iowa to compete in Wednesday's Drake Relays Pole Vault in the Mall at the Jordan Creek Town Center.

Walker, the 2012 US Olympic trials champion and a former world indoor and outdoor champ, faces a field that includes the gold and silver medalists from last year's London Olympics, Renaud Lavillenie of France and Bjorn Otto of Germany.

Walker is the defending Pole Vault in the Mall champion, as he cleared 18-9 1/2 (5.72m) in last year's competition.

The women's field is just as loaded, as it features defending Olympic champion Jenn Suhr going against Cuba's Olympic silver medalist Yarisley Silva and Oregon alum Becky Holliday.

The Drake Relays got underway Tuesday with the Grand Blue Mile on the streets of Des Moines, which doubled as the USA 1 mile road race championship event.

Stanford alum Garrett Heath was the men's champ, running a course record 4:02.79.  

In the women's race, Yale alum Kate Grace, who competes for Seattle based Oiselle, won the women's race in a course record 4:43.02 on a cold day.

Grace and Heath each collected the top prize of $5,000 and an additional $2,500 reward for setting a course record.  Overall, 23 professional milers, including nearly a half-dozen Olympians raced for $30,000 in purse money.

NOTE:  The Drake Relays contributed to this report.

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