Pole vault summit begins today in Reno

A field of American stars will be on hand to compete in the USATF Pole Vault Summit tonight in Reno.

Jeff Hartwig, who holds the American men's record, will join 2004 Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson, as well as defending Pole Vault Summit champions Brad Walker and Jennifer Stucyznski to participate in the elite vault competition tonight at the Grand Sierra Resort (formerly Reno Hilton). Opening ceremonies are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

The event is hosted by Carson City-based UCS Spirit under the direction of Steve Chappell and Lane Maestretti and Fresno State coach Bob Fraley.

Last year's winners were Walker, who cleared a height of 18-feet, 4-1/2 inches to capture the men's title for the second straight year, and Stucyznski, who led the women with a vault of 14-11. Walker went on to win gold at the 2006 World Indoor championships. Stucyznski wound as the No. 1 American woman and broke the 15-foot barrier 12 different times in five different countries.

Hartwig is another familiar vaulting name. Hartwig, who just turned 39, comes into 2007 riding a streak in which he has cleared 19 feet or better 11 years in a row. He set his personal best and American record of 19-9 1/2 in June, 2000.

The Pole Vault Summit schedule includes clinics throughout today at the Grand Sierra Resort and will continue Saturday with competition for high school, college and masters athletes.

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