Pole vault has a Holliday in the finals | NevadaAppeal.com

Pole vault has a Holliday in the finals

SACRAMENTO – Becky Holliday is exactly where she wants to be right now.

That is, the Reed High School graduate is spending time in the town where she grew up and competing in the women’s pole vault at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. And early Friday evening, she took a big step in pursuit of her Olympic dream during qualifying at Sacramento State University’s Hornet Stadium.

Holliday cleared her first attempt at 13-feet, 9 1/4 inches to advance to the finals, which will be held Sunday afternoon. She cleared 13-5 1/4 in the only other jump she needed to take.

“I felt good,” Holliday said. “The first step is out of the way now. You can never look past qualifying, so now that I’m in the finals, I’m a happy girl going home.”

She also sent a small group of fans home toward Donner Summit on a happy note.

“I’m from nearby Penryn and I have 15 friends and family here,” she said.

In addition, Holliday felt right at home competing in the same stadium where she won the 2003 NCAA outdoor title as a senior at Oregon.

“I like this place,” Holliday said. “I won NCAAs here, I grew up here (before moving to Sparks and attending Reed). I like the runway, I like the crowd. Everything is here you need to make some high bars.”

Expect to see some high bars when the finals are held Sunday because Holliday will be part of a field that includes defending Olympic champion Stacy Dragila, 2000 Olympian Kellie Suttle, three-time NCAA champion Tracy O’Hara, and Jillian Schwartz, a fourth-place finisher at the world indoor championships. Dragila and Schwartz cleared 13-11 1/4 to lead the qualifying jumpers.

“I’m going to need a p.r.,” Holliday said. “This is my first post-collegiate season, so I’m still getting my rhythm, but my training has been going well. I’ve been training for a p.r. and I think I’m ready for it.” Holliday, a state champion at Reed, posted her second 14-5 clearance of the season just two weeks ago at a meet in Canada. She also cleared 14-1 1/4 to place second behind Mary Sauer at the Adidas Oregon Track Classic in Eugene on June 5. This is also a homecoming for Dragila, who attended Placer High School in nearby Auburn, Calif.

“Sacramento has always been special to me. It’s home to me,” said Dragila, who holds the American record of 15-10. “I like the heat, I’ve always done well here.”