Sunday Jan 18 2009
Dragila vaults on with tour
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
Don’t close the book on Stacy Dragila’s remarkable athletic career just yet. At the age of 37, Dragila plans on sticking around the pole vault pits for at least another year. The Placer High graduate who won the first ever gold medal in the women’s pole vault in the 2000 Olympics plans to help launch the U.S. Pole Vault Tour this spring. Plans were unveiled for a series of multi-sponsored, multi-city pole vault events at the Pole Vault Summit earlier this month in Reno, where Dragila competed in the open competition and placed fifth. “I’ve always thought, why can’t pole vaulting do something like what the pro bull riders did when they broke off on their own from rodeo?” said Dragila, a two-time world champion. “This is a great opportunity to get ourselves out there and show people that our sport is cool and fun to watch. I’m all for it.” Dragila was heavily involved in rodeo as a youngster growing up in Auburn. She paralleled the proposed USPV Tour to a similar situation in pro rodeo when in 1994 a separate organization was formed for bull riding alone. Details on the seven-city USPV Tour, including an event in Sacramento in May or June, are expected to be released in the coming weeks. ... The state’s budget crisis is beginning to have an impact on local athletic programs. The Golden Sierra High football team was planning on making its debut next fall on a new turf field, made possible by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Budget constraints have put the project on hold indefinitely. The Black Oak Mine Unified School District got word last month that $300,000 in grant funding for the turf project was suspended due to the state fiscal crisis, according to a statement from the district. The State of California stopped all general obligation bond-funded projects, including Proposition 84 funs, which supports the work of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The statement said the turf project is, “postponed for the foreseeable future, but at some point in the future this funding should be restored.” Let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come. High school athletics could take a major hit in the coming year as cutbacks take place throughout state organizations. Stay tuned to the Journal for an upcoming feature story on the financial burdens of various high school sports and how schools handle them. … Auburn Little League has seen a drop-off in enrollment numbers, another sign of the difficult financial times. As a result, an additional registration date has been added on Wednesday at the Round Table Pizza on Elm St. from 6 p.m. to 8. All the specifics on tryouts and registration details are available at www.auburnlittleleague.org. qqq Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Journal. Comment online at www.auburnjournal.com.