BY SPNW Staff 08:08PM 06/28/2012

Lagat, Rome join Walker in London for Games

Three more athletes with connections to the state of Washington, pole vaulter Brad Walker, distance runner Bernard Lagat and discus thrower Jarred Rome, qualified Thursday night for the London Olympic Games, Walker by winning the U.S. Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Lagat and Rome by finishing second in their respective events.

Two other athletes with state ties were bumped off the plane to London.

Lagat, a former Washington State runner who became a naturalized citizen three years ago, will make his fourth Olympic journey (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012). Rome last competed in the Olympics in 2004 in Athens.

Walker, a Spokane native (University High) won Thursday by clearing 18-7 1/4. Walker is the American record holder, clearing 19-9 1/2 at the Prefontaine Classic in June, 2008.

Walker has mostly been absent from the world vaulting stage for the past couple of years, but resumed competition earlier this year and dominated the field Thursday.

He passed on the opening height of 17-8 1/2, then cleared 18-0 1/2 on his first attempt. Walker missed his first attempt at 18-4 1/2, but cleared it on his second attempt. He also missed his first attempt at 18-7 1/4, but cleared it on his second attempt, which proved to be his winning jump.

Walker attempted three times to clear 19-1, but was unsuccessful after he had dispatched all other competitors.

Another former Husky, Scott Roth, a 2011 UW graduate, passed at 17-8 1/2, as Walker did, then cleared 18-0 1/2 on his second attempt, cleared 18-4 1/2 on his second attempt, passed at 18-7 1/4 and missed all three jumps at 18-9 1/4.

Roth finished third, which would ordinarily have been good enough to secure an Olympic berth, but didn’t make the Olympic team because he had not previously cleared the qualifying standard of 18-9 1/4. Roth’s spot went to Derek Miles. Jeremy Scott secured the third spot on the team on the basis of fewer misses than Miles.

The 37-year-old Lagat, a winner of two Olympic medals (1,500-meter silver in 2004, 1,500-meter bronze in 2000), clocked 13:22.82 in the 5,000 meters. He led through much of the stretch, but was eclipsed at the tape by Galen Rupp, who clocked 13:22.67, a Trials record.

Rome, who attended Marysville-Pilchuck High School and Boise State, qualified by finishing second in the discus throw with a heave of 207-10.

Ian Waltz, a Washington State graduate and a two-time Olympian (2004-08), was in position to make his third Olympic team until Jason Young made his sixth and final throw, landing it 203-11, knocking out Waltz. He finished fourth at 201-2.

At the U.S. swim Trials in Omaha, two state swimmers advanced. Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian qualified for the finals of the 100-meter freestyle by winning a semifinal in 48.33 seconds, and Ariana Kukors of Federal Way qualified for the final in the women’s 200-meter individual medley by finishing fourth in her semifinal race.


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