Washington Star Vaulter To Miss NCAAs With Broken Hand
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington's Brad Walker, the NCAA indoor pole vault champion and a top American vaulter, will miss this weekend's NCAA West Regional and next month's NCAA meet after breaking a bone in his hand.
"Not exactly the way I wanted my season to end," Walker said Wednesday.
Walker experienced soreness in his right wrist and hand in recent weeks but didn't consider it unusual, just part of the routine for any vaulter. Then last Friday at practice, his condition worsened.
"I was using adhesive on the pole to help my hands stick," Walker said. "I planted, and it just kind of jammed. There was a lot of sharp pain."
X-rays disclosed a hairline fracture, which was confirmed Wednesday by an MRI. Walker was fitted with a cast, which he must wear for 10 weeks before starting rehabilitation.
"I have no idea how long it will be before I'm holding a pole again," he said.
Walker didn't know exactly which bone was broken but "the bone fracture is one of the slower healing bones," he said. "It doesn't get as much blood flow."
Walker won the NCAA indoor championships in March with a vault of 19 feet, 1/2 inch, tying him with Derek Miles of Team Nike for the top U.S. indoor mark this year.
Walker won the Pac-10 outdoor title on May 17, clearing 18-2 1/2. His best outdoor vault this spring is 18-6 1/2; The top U.S. outdoor jump this year is 18-10 1/2 by three athletes, none collegiate vaulters.
"It's unfortunate for Brad," Washington coach Greg Metcalf said. "He's a senior. He wins the NCAA indoor, then the Pac-10, and he was the odds-on favorite to win the NCAA outdoor title."
Walker will use his remaining NCAA eligibility to defend his indoor title next season. He won't be eligible for outdoor competition after that, but will focus next spring on making the U.S. Olympic team.
"This will give my body a break," Walker said. "I'll do some heavy leg lifting to build my speed back up. ... With another good indoor season, it would give me a good push going into the big outdoor meets in an Olympic year
Last edited by vaultin chris
on Thu May 29, 2003 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.