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Wall leaves lasting impressions at EWU

Photo+illustration+by+Anna+Mills%0ASenior+sprinter+Brad+Wall+looks+upon+the+track+he+has+dominated+during+his+career+at+Eastern.+He+was+named+Big+Sky+Champion+five+times+in+his+career.
Photo illustration by Anna Mills
Senior sprinter Brad Wall looks upon the track he has dominated during his career at Eastern. He was named Big Sky Champion five times in his career.

Photo illustration by Anna Mills Senior sprinter Brad Wall looks upon the track he has dominated during his career at Eastern. He was named Big Sky Champion five times in his career.

Anna Mills

Anna Mills

Photo illustration by Anna Mills Senior sprinter Brad Wall looks upon the track he has dominated during his career at Eastern. He was named Big Sky Champion five times in his career.

By Peter Sowards, Senior Reporter

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Pesky sprinter leaves his mark on Eastern’s track and field team


By Peter Sowards

SENIOR REPORTER

 

packerfan4life@gmail.com



Every athlete wants to leave behind a legacy when they conquer a certain stage of their careers.

Some wish to be thought of as winners; others would rather be looked at as great leaders.

For sprinter Brad Wall, a fifth-year senior who graduates with a degree in journalism on June 15, he hopes people remember him as a nuisance. “I think it’d be kind of funny if they felt like I was a pest to the rest of the conference,” Wall said. If you have competed against Wall in the 400-meter dash, chances are you agree.

Wall, a three-time EWU Scholar-Athlete, has dominated the 400 during his time at Eastern, winning four Big Sky Conference titles in the event, most recently at the 2013 Outdoor Championships. And he has won each of them in come-from-behind fashion, a sure annoyance to the athletes who thought they had it all wrapped up. “I can shift into that extra gear when I need to, and I just kind of have the will to win. I might not be the fastest guy out there, but I have a lot of drive, and I won’t be denied,” Wall said.

Teammate Steven Warner, the 60-meter hurdle champion for the 2012 Big Sky Conference Indoors, lauded Wall’s approach and consistency. “Brad [Wall]’s one of those guys who leads by example,” Warner said. “That’s something I’ve always respected about him. As far as his finishing kick that last 200 [meters], I don’t know if there’s anybody in better shape who’s got the same mental strength as Brad [Wall].”

Warner joined EWU’s track team in 2009 — one year after Wall — and has trouble envisioning the squad without his captain. “You get to the point where you almost can’t picture the school without him,” Warner said. “Someone’s going to have to step up big time next year.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 9.35.53 AMWall looks forward to marrying his fiancée, Stephanie Dye, in July. Dye ran cross country for the Eagles from 2008 to 2012 and is currently studying for her master’s in occupational therapy. Wall said he is eager to start the next installment of his life. “I love being in school and doing track as well, but now that track is done, I’m kind of ready to move on to the next chapter and have a steady job. … Just a 9-to-5 and come home, and that’s all you got. You won’t have practice anymore or school [or] class all over the place,” Wall said.

While competing in his final year at Eastern, Wall also took on the position of sports information student assistant and handled nearly all the media relations duties for the 2012-2013 athletic season with regard to cross country and track and field. This meant writing about himself on occasion, a situation his boss, Sports Information Director Dave Cook, described as “a little awkward” at times.

“It has been a little bit different having to write about myself this spring,” Wall admitted. “That’s just kind of a thing that comes along with journalism — that type of writing — you have to be objective and say what happened that’s newsworthy at the meet.”

When Wall made history on May 11, becoming the fourth Eagle to win four Big Sky titles, Cook took it upon himself to write the media release, saying, “I knew if he had a successful day, he wouldn’t give himself justice.

“It was a fun moment,” Cook added. “With all our athletes, any time they achieve greatness and do the things they do, you feel really proud of them. But this was one of the highlights; just the way it happened with him winning his fourth title in his last competition.” Cook noted that Wall had also finished top-3 in relay events 11 times during Wall’s Big Sky Conference Championship runs, a feat Cook doubted had been previously matched.

At the track and field banquet on May 29, head men’s coach Stan Kerr singled out Wall as an athlete his runners could look up to. “One of the things I passed on to the team is, ‘Here’s a guy that’s logged approximately 135 races here in his tenure at Eastern: both short and long relays, the 100, the 200, the 400.’ That is a lot of races at a very high intensity, and he has persevered in grand fashion,” Kerr said. “He never complained and was just always ready to show up and do the work to keep getting better.”

Kerr believes Wall has what it takes to continue his athletic career post-college. “Brad [Wall] knows he has a gift — a physical gift,” Kerr said. “I think he can legitimately qualify for the Olympic Trials in 2012 in Eugene, [Ore.,] in the 800.” Kerr said Wall’s chances would be lesser in the 400 due to how “phenomenally fast” the U.S. runners are in that event.

For now, though, Wall is temporarily hitting pause on his running career. “It’s been such a welcoming team throughout my entire five years here,” he said. “I really appreciate all the support over the years from everybody, from different outlets, coaches and teammates.

“I couldn’t have done it without that.”

Follow me on Twitter @PeterSowards or at @EasternerSports

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Wall leaves lasting impressions at EWU