Dragila wins eighth US indoor

BOSTON, Massachusetts, Feb 29 (AFP) - Stacy Dragila lived up to her favorite’s status Sunday, winning hereighth national indoor pole vault title at the US indoorathletics championships, but without a national record.
As the three-day meeting concluded, Jen Toomeycaptured the 1500m title to go with her 800m crown,while Savante Stringfellow won the men’s long jump andimmediately pronounced himself the favorite for theindoor World Championships in Budapest in March.
While Dragila was disappointed in her attempt toimprove on the national record she established lastyear, she pronounced herself satisfied with the victorywith a height of 4.70m.
I won that's always good,'' Dragila said, addingthat she purposely approached the competitionconservatively as she worked on some technical changes. I got up my bigger poles today, and I felt easy,’‘she said. I started pretty low, pretty conservative.I'll start a little higher at the Worlds.'' Dragila, 32, said she was ready for the Russians’‘in Budapest. Russia’s Svetlana Feofanova currently holdsthe indoor world record of 4.85m.
Toomey, who grew up near Boston in Salem,Massachusetts, thrilled the crowd with her 800-1500double.
Her victory at the longer distance was helped by theslow pace of the race, which she won in 4:08.82.
This morning I told my coach: I don't want to run, Ifeel tired,'' Toomey said. But he asked me: do youwant the Worlds or the Games. I said the Games. He toldme then you have to double.’’
The 32-year-old American will race only the 800m inBudapest.
Stringfellow, always brimming with confidence,guaranteed a world title after an easy victory with along jump of 8.26m.
``There is a great competition, but I’m in a real goodshape and I think I’m going to win,’’ Stringfellow said.
Christian Cantwell won the men’s shot, the only one ofthe five competitors left after Adam Nelson’s forfeit toreach 21m. He won with a throw of 21.26m
Milton Campbell failed in his bid for a 200m-400mdouble. He won the 400m in 46.43sec, but fell tonewcomer Jimmie Hackley who won the 200m in 29.83 aheadof Coby Miller.
Crystal Cox, who is balancing the roles of athlete,student and single mother this Olympic season, won thewomen’s 200m in 23.27sec. Amy Acuff added a secondindoor national high jump title to the one she earned in2001 with a height of 1.93m.
The top two in each event qualified for the indoorworlds next Friday-Sunday in Budapest.