Stuczynski sets American record in pole vault

Feb 8, 2009 - 5:23 AM By Simon Lewis PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Jenn Stuczynski spoke of her relief at finally taking down Stacy Dragila's indoor American pole vault record on Saturday.

The American outdoor record holder, Stuczynski landed a $25,000 bonus at the Boston Indoor Games when she topped the 2000 Olympic champion's national mark of 15 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

She had come agonizingly close eight days ago during last weekend's Millrose Games at New York's Madison Square Garden, but needed no second chance in Boston.

Stuczynski cleared the record on her first attempt, breaking Dragila's record which was set in 2003.

"It was definitely harder to do than you say it is," Stuczynski said. "I didn't know if I was going to do well. I didn't have a feeling about it going into this meet. It was a big question mark. I just didn't know how I was going to perform.

"I think it was a relief. It's a mental game you play with yourself. I've tried this so many times and now I want to make it today. I tried to stay focused on it and go with the routine jumps."

With her new national record in the bag, Stuczynski attempted to break the world record (16-6 3/4) set by Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, but to no avail.

Dragila finished second (14-06.00) and Norway's Cathrine Larsaasen third on (13-02.25) in the event.

Meet organizers were quickly paying out another $25,000 bonus when local athlete Shalane Flanagan lowered the women's 5000-meter American record in front of friends and family in a hometown crowd.

The Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist smashed Marla Runyan's eight-year mark of 15 minutes 7.44 seconds when she clocked 14.47.62 to place second in a photo finish with Ethiopia's Sentayehu Ejigu (14:47.62).

"There's no better motivation than to run in front of the hometown crowd," Flanagan said. "I've dreamed of these kinds of moments. I remember coming to this meet in high school. I've come a long way since then."

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