DES MOINES, Iowa--Another day, another national title.
University High School/Spokane and University of Washington graduate Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his fifth US outdoor pole vault title at Drake Stadium on day 3 of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
After passing the first two heights, Walker cleared 18-2 1/2 (5.55m) on his second attempt, then took the lead after clearing the eventual winning height of 18-6 1/2 (5.65m) on his first attempt, a mark cleared only by second place finisher Jeremy Scott.
Walker passed the next height of 18-8 1/4 (5.70m) and watched as Scott and Dustin DeLeo both missed all three attempts at the height. Walker then took three unsuccessful attempts at 19-0 1/4 (5.80m).
"It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done," Walker, who holds the requisite world championships A standard, said in the mixed zone afterwards.
“It’s a little lower than I would have liked. It was a little bit harder today to jump than I thought it was going to be. It was a good wind, but it was hard to gauge like a repeatable easy run. I was under I was out trying to gauge that. I made 5.65 meters, first attempt, when nobody made the next bars, they just went up to 5.80 meters to try and get a good bar. I made a team, relief that I did, but not so pumped about it. I would have liked to have gotten the next bar (5.80 meters) and taken shots at 6.00 meters and so.”
Walker, who is now based in the Phoenix area, also revealed that he is not currently with his long time sponsor Nike, although if one were to watch him from a distance, you wouldn't know that he's not a Nike athlete, probably after accumulating loads of gear over the years.
He stated that the only apparel equipment support he's getting is product from Vancouver, Canada based Lululemon, which currently does not have a presence in track & field, but may want to after Walker's win. Walker jumped with a singlet with a small Lululemon logo in the back.
One of the surprises came in the men's 400 after Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry was disqualified in his semifinal, after finishing third in 45.41, for a lane violation.
Bellingham resident Donn Cabral finished fourth in his semifinal of the 3000 steeplechase, running 8:38.06.
Washington State grad Jeshua Anderson advanced to the finals of the 400 hurdles, finishing fourth in 49.49.
Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford had the seventh fastest time of the day in the 100 hurdles, as she ran 12.67 to finish second in her first round race.
Both Washington State grad Joe Abbott and Tacoma's Mark Wieczorek failed in their efforts to make the finals in the 800 meters, as Abbott finished sixth in his semi in 1:46.19, while Wieczorek was fifth in his semi in 1:46.33.
Marysville-Pilchuck HS alum Jarred Rome finished sixth in the discus, throwing 196-6 (59.91m).
At the halfway point of the decathlon, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo stands in fourth place with 4115 points, 334 behind leader Gunnar Nixon's 4449 points.
Taiwo opened with a 10.98 100 meter dash, then jumped a sub-par 22-6 1/4 (6.86m) in the long jump.
He then threw 44-2 1/2 in the shot put (13.47m), then high jumped 6-9 3/4 (2.08m).
Taiwo's day was completed with a 48.30 clocking in the 400.
Entering the national championships, Taiwo is one of only three athletes holding the IAAF A standard for the world championships, with the others being defending world champ Trey Hardee, and defending Olympic champ and world record holder Ashton Eaton.
In the junior championships, White River HS grad Marcus Dickson, who just completed his freshman season at Brigham Young University, finished second in a thrilling 800 meter final, as he was nipped at the line by Nicholas Rivera.
Rivera ran 1:49.55 to take the national title ahead of Dickson at 1:49.63.
Tatum Taylor of O'Dea qualified for the finals of the 200, running 21.88.
The University of Washington's Hap Emmons and Nick Harris, along with Gig Harbor HS alum Will Drinkwater qualified for the finals in the men's 1500, while SeattleU's Collin Overbay did not advance.
Marcus Chambers of Seatown Express ran the second fastest time of the day in the 400, running 47.00.
Whitney Diggs of Seatown Express was disqualified in her semi of the 400.
In the 400 hurdles, Cece Jackson of Seatown Express ran 59.92 to make the finals.