Villanova sophomore Ashley Preston, a 2018 Delsea graduate, hit a new pole vault PR Saturday at the Quaker Invite at Franklin Field.
Preston cleared 13-3 3/4 on her second attempt to break her lifetime best of 13-3 1/2, which she cleared winning the 2020 indoor Big East Championships at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Her previous outdoor PR was a 13-2 1/4, which she cleared at the 2019 outdoor Big East Championships at Icahn Stadium in New York. Preston has won all four Big East Championship pole vaults that have been held since she entered Villanova.
Preston’s mark Saturday makes her the No. 3 performer in Villanova history, behind Alexandra Wasik, who cleared 13-10 at the Gotham Cup at the Armory in 2015, and Ashyln Llerandi, who cleared 13-5 3/4 indoors at the ECAC Championships in Roxbury, Mass., in March of 2020. Her mark is tied for No. 2 in Villanova outdoor history, behind only Wasik’s 13-7 1/4 at the 2014 NCAA East Regional prelims in Jacksonville and tied with McPhillips’ mark at the 2015 Big East Championships at Villanova.
At the Quaker Invite, Preston passed the first five heights and entered the competition at 12-5 1/2, which she cleared on her first attempt. She cleared 12-11 1/2 and 13-3 3/4 on her second attempts. With the win locked up, she had the bar moved up to 13-5 3/4 and missed her three tries.
Preston’s mark is No. 1 this year in the Big East. U. Conn junior Emma Chee is No. 2 at 13-5 earlier this month in a meet in Storrs.
At Delsea, Preston was a Group 3 state champ and Meet of Champions runner. She had a high school PR of 12-7 1/2 when she placed third at the 2018 Penn Relays at the same pole vault facility where she PR’d this weekend. She’s No. 2 in South Jersey scholastic history, behind only Shawnee’s Danielle O’Reilly, the former national scholastic indoor record holder with her 13-5 at the 2004 Varsity Classic at the Armory. O’Reilly’s outdoor best was 13-3 at the 2004 Olympic Conference meet at Pennsauken.