INDIANAPOLIS - A field including Olympic and World Championships medalists will vie for national titles at the 2009 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships February 28-March 1 at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston.
The concluding event of USATF's Indoor Visa Championship Series, the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships is the world's oldest indoor track championship, with the first meet being held in 1888 in New York. The USA Indoor Championships will be televised live on ESPN 2 on Sunday, March 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The Gill women's pole vault will see a generational battle as pioneering 2000 Olympic gold medalist Stacy Dragila, the former World record holder, takes on 2008 Olympic silver medalist Jenn Stuczynski. A nine-time U.S. Outdoor and 8-time U.S. Indoor champion, Dragila has surged back on to the international scene after several seasons plagued by injury. But it is Stuczynski who leads the show. Chasing her fourth national indoor title, she will aim to raise her American record clearance of 4.82 meters/15 feet 9.75 inches, a record that she recently took away from Dragila who had held it for nine years.
2006 World Indoor champion Lisa Barber leads the women's entries in the 60 meters. She will face stiff competition from 2007 USA Indoor champion Hasani Roseby and 2005 World Outdoor 200m silver medalist Rachelle Boone-Smith. Also in the mix will be 2005 World Outdoor long jump champion Tianna Madison, but first Madison will compete in her signature event, the Metro women's long jump, where she will face a trio of Beijing Olympic long jumpers in Brittney Reese, Grace Upshaw and Funmi Jimoh. Reese ended her 2008 season ranked #4 in the world by Track & Field News while Upshaw was world-ranked #8. Also in the mix will be 2008 Olympic heptathlon silver medalist Hyleas Fountain.
Fountain will be doing double duty as she also is entered in the Visa women's 60m hurdles, where she will face the reigning World Indoor champion, 2008 Visa Champion and #1 world-ranked Lolo Jones. Jones is fresh off a European tour that saw her run the three fastest times in the world so far this year. Not to be overlooked is two-time U.S. Indoor champion Danielle Carruthers, who is currently the fourth-fastest hurdler on the year.
In the MBTA women's 800m, three-time Olympian Hazel Clark will look for a rematch against 2008 Olympian Alice Schmidt. The 2006 U.S. Indoor champion, Schmidt narrowly defeated Clark, a three-time U.S. Outdoor and two-time U.S. Indoor champion, at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, 2:03.05 to 2:03.19.
Two-time Olympian and 2007 U.S. Indoor champion Shayne Culpepper will take on three-time Olympian Jen Rhines and two-time NCAA Outdoor 5,000m runner-up Sara Hall in the women's 1,500m. That trio will have to take on the woman who may be the pre-race favorite, Lindsey Gallo, who ran the 2009 world leader in the mile, 4:27.90, in winning the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Rhines is also entered in the Nike women's 3,000m, a race that includes 2008 Olympian Amy Yoder Begley.
Other athletes to watch include four-time Olympian Amy Acuff in the women's high jump, who looks to add a fifth U.S. Indoor title to her trophy case. 2008 Olympian Amber Campbell will be chasing her third National title in the women's weight throw, while 2008 Olympian Jillian Camarena hopes to bring home her fourth consecutive Indoor Championship crown. Seven-time U.S. Indoor champion Teresa Vaill looks to continue her dominance in the women's 3,000m race walk, and 2008 Olympian Erica McLain will challenge four-time USA Indoor champion and American record-holder Tiombe Hurd in the women's triple jump.
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Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo