Local high school pole vaulter places third in national competition

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Emery Prentice, a junior at Vandebilt Catholic, placed third in the High School Girls Pole Vault Championship at the Adidas Indoor Nationals this past weekend, earning the bronze with a jump of 13’7.25.


She said the meet was an amazing experience, watching the top competitors in her sport from around the country. “I think all the competition definitely pushed me to jump as good as I did,” said Emery, who was one of only 25 girls to qualify for the championship. “Competition definitely brings out the best in everyone.” 


The noteworthy accomplishment completes an impressive run Emery went on to close out her junior season. Just a week before she stood on the podium at Virginia Beach, Emery placed second in Girls Pole Vault Division I competition during LHSAA Indoor Track & Field State Meet at Louisiana State University. She finished the season with five meets of over 13 feet. 


For Emery, who played soccer and is a competitive cheerleader, pole vaulting is a sport she more recently made a priority, honing her skills after the COVID-19 pandemic made her reevaluate what to pursue.  


“I just started kind of seeing the potential that I had,” she remembered. “I just figured that I should put more time into it and see what I could really do with trying to focus all my efforts into it.”


Emery’s hard work is showing results, jumping around a foot higher than she did last year. And she also receives help from a great mentor: her father, Derrick Prentice, who was a pole vaulter at LSU. 


“My husband helps coach her sometimes when we travel, so they’ve been a good team,” said Emery’s mother, Melanie Prentice. “It’s been a really nice moment for them to be able to do that together.”


Emery aims to continue the sport at the next level, too. 


The gifted athlete thanked all her coaches, including Kevin Trosclair (who coached her dad as well) and her family for all of their “time and sacrifices.”


“I’m extremely proud of her,” Melanie shared. “Her biggest critic is, of course, herself. She’s worked hard. I’m proud of how much she has accomplished.”