Dragila off and running at Trials

By: Journal Sports Staff
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Stacy Dragila had a short day in the pole vault pit Thursday and that was just fine with her. Aiming to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games for a third straight time, the Placer High graduate cleared 4.3 meters (14 feet, 1.25 inches) to land a spot in Sunday’s finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. “It was fun being out there and being in a big competition again,” the 37-year-old Dragila said. “I tried to execute and I think I did better than I expected.” Dragila took just two vaults on Thursday. She cleared 4.20 meters on her first attempt and 4.30 in her final attempt of the evening. She was one of nine women to clear 4.30, including Newcastle native Becky Holliday. Current U.S. record holder Jenn Stuczynski also cleared 4.30 to qualify for the finals. Dragila won the 2000 gold medal – the first awarded in the history of the women’s pole vault. An Achilles injury hampered her at the 2004 Games in Athens and she failed to qualify for the finals. Dragila has had two surgeries in the last two years on her Achilles tendons, but believes she’s ready for one last run at Olympic glory. The top three finishers in Sunday’s final will represent the U.S. at the Olympics next month in Beijing, China. “We didn’t know what to expect (with the wind) and I always try to play it safe,” Dragila said Thursday night. “Now I just need to rest up for the finals.”