Chula Vista OTC track and field athletes take aim on U.S. outdoor nationals

The USA Track and Field outdoor national championships will get moving with the first pistol shot Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa. The event, which features competition in both senior and junior age groups, continues through Sunday.

Last week, competitors at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center were either feverishly attempting to record some last-second qualifying marks or get in a few last practice jumps before heading off to the sweltering Midwest venue site.

Up, up away
The pole vault pit was treated to some royalty — both of the Olympic gold and high school variety — as competition wrapped up in that event on the OTC grounds on June 13.

Among the competitors heading the men’s list were 2000 Sydney Games gold medalist Nick Hysong and American-record holder Brad Walker.

Hysong, who recorded a personal best 5.9 meters (19-4.25) in Sydney, got into the act in order to fill out the field in the B-flight so that Cole Walsh and Grant Sisserson, two students at Hysong’s private sports performance facility, RISEN Performance in Phoenix, could get in few more quality practice jumps for the upcoming junior nationals.

Walsh and Sisserson dropped in on the Chula Vista site after competing in the 54th annual Golden West Invitational meet the previous weekend in the Bay Area.

Sisserson (Scottsdale Horizon) won the Division I Arizona state championship on May 8 at Mesa Community College by clearing 17-0 while Walsh (Brophy College Prep) finished second at 16-9.

The two young men reversed position at the Golden West Invitational June 9 at Cal-Berkeley; Walsh, who will continue vaulting at the University of Oregon, cleared 16-4 to win the event ahead of runner-up Sisserson, who will attend Cornell University.

Both recent prep graduates topped Hysong in the CV-OTC competition.

“A bit out of shape,” quipped Hysong, who continues to hold the Arizona state high school record at 17-4.75, a mark he set in 1990.

Walsh went out at 16-6.75 (his personal best is 16-9.5) while Sisserson continued on.

Both Walsh and Sisserson declared to compete at this week’s USATF Outdoor Junior Nationals in Iowa. Overall, 17 vaulters were accepted to compete who cleared five meters (16-4.75) or higher.

Seven vaulters cleared 17 feet, led by Daven Murphee of the Texas Pole Vault at 17-8.5.

Sisserson ranked fifth in that group.

“There’s only about six or seven high school vaulters in the country who can clear 17 feet in any one year,” said Sisserson, a member of this year’s exclusive 17-foot club.

“But there’s always room for improvement.”

Brad Walker
Brad Walker


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