At the America East (AE) Indoor Track and Field Championships last week, the women’s track and field team placed seventh. Several Bearcats shined individually, with six BU athletes winning individual AE titles. One of them, junior Mallory Prelewicz, won an individual title in the women’s pole vault. Prelewicz joined Pipe Dream’s Bearcast to discuss her title, the track teams and her pole vaulting career.
“I was happy,” Prelewicz said of her performance. “I had not been having a very good season before then, so it felt good just to come in and feel good, honestly. I was very confident, and I just felt athletic when I was pole vaulting, which was really nice. My height wasn’t the best I’ve ever had; I was really close to a [personal record] and didn’t get it, so it was a little bit of a disappointment, but I did what I had to do to score points for my team and that’s all that matters.”
Prelewicz won her pole vaulting title this year with a height of 11-11 3/4, falling fewer than six inches short of her personal record. The title marks her second consecutive pole vaulting title at the AE Indoor Championships, becoming the first BU women’s pole vaulter to ever accomplish that feat. She also won the pole vaulting title at the AE Outdoor Championships last season.
The competition in the women’s pole vault across the conference has been very strong this season. Given that she was the defending title holder in both the indoor and outdoor events, Prelewicz said she felt a little pressure going into her performance, and that she tried not to let it affect her.
“My coach was like, ‘knock it off,’” Prelewicz said. “I shouldn’t let that dictate how I do and add pressure to the pressure that I already put on myself, but I think I rose to the occasion. I think it eventually helped me come out of my rut and do better.”
Prelewicz first got into pole vaulting in high school, but she participated in athletics long before that, spending much of her childhood doing gymnastics at her father’s gymnastics academy. When some of her older teammates in gymnastics received pole vaulting scholarships to a Division I program at the end of high school, Prelewicz thought she could do the same thing. When she entered high school, she joined her school’s track and field team, following her former teammates’ journey to becoming a Division I pole vaulter.
Though she acclimated well to the sport with time, Prelewicz did not get the hang of pole vaulting right away despite her background in gymnastics. She said the techniques and motions of pole vaulting are unique, giving those who get into it it a tough time at the start.
“It’s hard for everyone to learn,” Prelewicz said. “It’s very awkward and it’s very technical, so learning those skills takes a while. No one’s great at it the first time they pick up a pole. It takes a while to build those skills and build those motions because it’s very different from almost anything else.”
Track and field is mostly an individual sport, but the team dynamic is very strong on the BU track and field teams. Prelewicz enjoys the bonding experiences that traveling with the team provides, and said the athletes are always in attendance at their teammates’ events to encourage them and cheer them on.
“You can’t underestimate the team dynamic,” Prelewicz said. “You’re competing for yourself, but you’re also competing for your team, and you need that support. [At the conference meet] we were all up and cheering, running from event to event depending if they were going on at the same time, just there to support. You can’t underestimate the feeling of knowing that your teammate is there, cheering for you, watching you and supporting you.”
Prelewicz will compete next at the upcoming ECAC/IC4A Championships, where she hopes to set a new personal record in the pole vault. The meet will take place from March 7 to 8, beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 7 in Boston, Massachusetts.