Walker Earns All-America Honor

March 10, 2006 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's Juan Walker earned the program's 78th All-America honor, placing seventh among Americans in the long jump Friday at the 42nd NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.


Walker jumped 24-6.5 at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus, placing 10th overall but seventh among American competitors. The junior became the 40th different athlete to earn an All-American honor at Middle Tennessee under 41st-year head coach Dean Hayes.


"I just tried to focus this week. I'm happy with what I did. I didn't jump as well as I wanted to, but I accomplished one of my goals," Walker said. "My main goal was to get on Coach Hayes' wall with all of the other All-Americans and I accomplished that. There are a lot of greats on that wall and it feels great to be a part of that."


Middle Tennessee's other competitor in the national championships, senior Linnie Yarbrough, fell just short of reaching the 60-meter hurdles finals for the second straight year and by the narrowest of margins.


Yarbrough tied Auburn's Tyrone Akins and South Carolina's Jason Richardson for the final qualifying spot in the preliminaries with a time of 7.83. Richardson earned the spot when the times were expanded to the thousandths of a second, with Richardson's time 7.823, Yarbrough's 7.826 and Akins' 7.830. Yarbrough has finished ninth two years in a row at the NCAA meet. His time of 7.83 would have placed him sixth in the event finals.


"It's very frustrating for Linnie to run well and come so close and yet not make it to the finals for the second year in a row," assistant coach Roger Kerr said. "As for Juan, he jumped well and it's very exciting for him to be an All-American."


Full results from the NCAA meet may be found at ncaasports.com or ladybacks.com.


Both the men's and women's teams open the outdoor season at the Alabama Relays March 18-19.


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