* Courtesy of Pat Walsh, Ulum Group *

Eugene, Ore. (July 27, 2006)--- As the summer heats up, so is last season's No. 1 ranked pole vaulter in the world, American Brad Walker.

Last week, when he soared over the magic 6.0-meter barrier (19-8 1/4) at a meet in Germany, Walker nabbed a new personal best, USA Track & Field's athlete of the week honors and, most importantly, the current No.1 ranking in the world this year. 

On Tuesday, August 8, Walker, the 2006 World Indoor Champion, will turn up the heat at Hayward Field on seven of America's best pole vaulters at the Road to Eugene '08 high performance track and field meet benefiting the Professional Athletics Association (PAA).

"This is an amazing group of elite competitors when you consider they all have vaulted 19- feet or better during their careers and all had top-10 ranked performances in the nation last year," said Vin Lananna, co-chairman of the Eugene Local Organizing Committee and University of Oregon associate athletic director/director of track and field.  "There will not be a better field of competitors assembled anywhere in America this track season.  It is just one of several events that fans will not want to miss."

Walkers' performance in Germany marks him as just the 12th vaulter in history to have cleared 6.00 meters (19-8 1/4) outdoors.  Three others entered in the Road to Eugene '08 have cleared that height or higher, including American indoor/outdoor record holder Jeff Hartwig (19-9 1/4), whose mark ranks fifth all time in the world; 2004 Olympic gold medalist Tim Mack (19-8 1/4); and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson (19-8 1/4), who also ranked No. 8 in the world in 2005.  Thus, the four highest vaulters in U.S. history are entered in the Road to Eugene '08 meet.  

The field is joined by other elite competitors who have also won their fair share of impressive titles and medals, including 2000 Olympic gold medalist Nick Hysong (19-4 1/2); 2004 Olympian and the world's No. 5 ranked pole vaulter in 2005, Derek Miles (19-2 1/2); 2006 Outdoor Champion Russ Buller (19-0 3/4); and University of Oregon's Tommy Skipper (19-0), the 2006 NCAA Champion, bronze medalist at the 2006 USA Outdoor Championships and currently the youngest of the top 20 ranked vaulters in the world.

Road to Eugene '08 is sponsored by Nike and the Eugene Local Organizing Committee for the 2008 U. S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, in partnership with the Professional Athletics Association (PAA), USA Track & Field (USATF) and its Athletes Advisory and High Performance Committees, the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Track Club. The Olympic Trials will be held in Eugene at Hayward Field, June 27 through July 6, 2008.

Tickets for the Road to Eugene '08 are $15 each for reserved seating and $10 each for general admission.  They are available at the Casanova Center ticket office, www.GoDucks.com, and 800-WEBFOOT.

 

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