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Skipper ties for third at USA Championships

by: File photo, Tommy Skipper clears the bar to win the 2003 Oregon high school pole vault title.

University of Oregon junior Tommy Skipper followed up his NCAA outdoor title in the pole vault by tying for third at the USA Track and Field Championships on Saturday, June 24, at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.

Skipper tied American record holder Jeff Hartwig and 2005 World Championships silver medalist Brad Walker, with each converting 18-feet-4 1/2-inches on their first attempts.

Skipper, who came into the event at 18-4 1/2, and Hartwig missed their three attempts at 18-8 1/4, while Walker passed to 18-10 1/4 and missed his three tries. Skipper tied for ninth at the 2005 USA Championships (17-8 1/2).

Asics post-collegiate vaulter Russ Buller won Saturday's event with a clearance of 19-0 1/4 to beat 2004 Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson, who also cleared the same height but on his second attempt.

Skipper, a 2003 Sandy graduate, competed in 10 meets in 2006 and cleared 18 feet in seven of them, including three in which he topped 18-6. He was selected as the Pacific-10 Conference's field athlete of the year.

During the collegiate season, Skipper won his second outdoor NCAA title with a clearance of 18-8 1/4 and earlier won his second Pac-10 title (18-0 1/2). He also won the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships in early March with a clearance of 18-6 1/2.