S tacy Dragila was so new to pole vaulting that her first post-college meets featured frayed nerves and even a bit of a fashion crisis.
She wore mismatching outfits – Nike shoes with an adidas warmup – she wasn’t sponsored, and she had no idea if she would succeed. In time, she certainly did, pioneering a new era for women’s athletics with her ability to jet down the runway, stick a pole into the pit and soar to new heights. By the time she retired in 2009, the Placer High School and Yuba College graduate had won 17 USA Indoor and Outdoor championships. And she became the first Olympic gold medalist in the event, clearing 15 feet, 1 inch in Sydney in 2000.
On June 12, the Big Sky Conference selected that gold-medal performance as its No. 1 women’s moment as part of the conference’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Dragila, who competed in the heptathlon for Idaho State from 1993 to 1995, learned to vault from coach Dave Nielsen, who introduced her to the event.
“If I would have gone anywhere else in my career, I would have never been on that podium or that stage (in Sydney),” Dragila said. “Dave obviously is a pioneer himself, and I give him full credit for having the vision, and the vision that he broke that barrier. He allowed his athletes to try something new.”
Dragila became the face of the event in America, winning three world titles and setting the world record several times with a best of 15-10.
Now 43, Dragila conducts pole vault camps, including one June 30-July 4 at Sacramento State. She expects to check out the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium in the days before her camp.
Around the regionJohn Volek Greg Vaughn
Vaughn, a first-round pick by the Brewers in 1986, played the first seven-plus of his 15 major-league seasons with Milwaukee, during which he hit 169 home runs and drove in 566 runs. Jenkins played 10 seasons with the Brewers (1998-2007), Bosio seven (1986-92) and Vina five (1995-99).
“This place has a deep, deep connection for me,” Vaughn told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Vaughn, Jenkins, Vina and Bosio are in good company; the inaugural class also includes Commissioner Bud Selig (the Brewers’ first owner), Hank Aaron and Robin Yount.