BY SPNW Staff 10:32AM 08/08/2012

Walker (Vault), Lagat (5,000) Reach Track Finals

Former University of Washington pole vaulter Brad Walker and former Washington State Cougar middle-distance runner Bernard Lagat qualified for finals in their respective Olympic events Wednesday in London. Walker vaulted 18-3 1/2 to reach Friday’s final and Lagat clocked 13:15.45 to reach Saturday’s 5,000-meter medal race.

Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe and France’s Renaud Lavillenie both cleared 18-5 to lead pole vault qualifiers. Walker, who failed to clear a height in 2008 in Beijing, is the American record holder at 19-9 3/4 (2008 Prefontaine Classic) and won the U.S. Trials by clearing 18-7 1/4.

Walker, a Mountlake Terrace resident, will contest 13 other vaulters in Friday’s final and will be the only American in the field.

Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist at 1,500 meters, posted the fourth-fastest time in 5,000-meter qualifying. Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel led qualifiers in 13:15.45.

Walker and Lagat were the only athletes with state ties involved in Olympic action Wednesday.

The women’s soccer team, featuring former Husky goalkeeper Hope Solo and three other members of the Sounders Women, play Japan for the gold medal Wednesday at Wembley Stadium. The match starts at 11:45 a.m. PDT.


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