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Breaking her own records, Ashmore continues to set the bar higher

Breaking her own records, Ashmore continues to set the bar higher

Bailey Ashmore prepares to vault into the mat during Monday's track and field practice at Fouts Field. Ashmore began pole vaulting in seventh grade and broke a record as a sophomore. Paige Bruneman

Breaking her own records, Ashmore continues to set the bar higher
May 03
17:21 2018

Bailey Ashmore has been setting the bar higher and higher for pole vaulting both in competitions and for herself. The sophomore pole vaulter began her career in middle school and has stuck with the sport she loves ever since.

On March 17, she broke the North Texas women’s pole vaulting record with a vault of 3.96 meters (12 feet 11.75 inches,), but it was still not enough for her.

“By the end of college, I really would like to get to 14 feet,” Ashmore said. “When I first broke the record, it was at 12 feet 11.75 inches.”

Ashmore is not afraid to raise standards for herself as it has allowed her to surpass everything she thought she was capable of when entering the sport in middle school.

Derek Mackel, the pole vaulting and jumping coach, recruited the pole vaulter from high school. He believed Ashmore had the technique and hunger to provide exactly what Mackel wanted from his pole vaulters. A few years later, she has blossomed into a better athlete than he ever expected.

“Last year she jumped 3.86 meters, just about four inches under the school record at the time,” Mackel said. “She made an attempt at the 3.96 meter bar but was unsuccessful at it. I thought it was totally possible for her to do it. I think with a little bit more hard work and maybe some change in her pole selection, she’ll be able to get over the 4.05 pretty easily, so she just needs to stay focused and get it done.”

A few days later she got it done. At the Bobcat Classic on April 27 in San Marcos Ashmore set a new school record of 4.05 meters (13.28 feet), bringing her closer to her goal of 4.27 meters (14 feet).

Ashmore is not only impressive on the track, but she also excels in the classroom. The sophomore student athlete is currently majoring in material engineering which fills a majority of her time outside of track.

“I have a lot of homework and a lot of reading, so it’s super difficult to keep up with all of them, but I’ve done pretty well so far,” Ashmore said. “You’ve got to keep the grades, and you’ve got to still run well, lift well and jump high. You need to have results in the classroom and on the track. That’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve done okay. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Her eagerness to learn and ability to be a disciplined student translates to her hunger and ambition on North Texas as a pole vaulter. Ashmore trains with her coaches to improve herself as an athlete and dedicates her time to excel in pole vaulting in an effort to improve on her passion.

“I think she’s a well rounded student athlete,” head track and field coach Carl Sheffield said. “She does extremely well inside the classroom, as well as on the track. I think every year she becomes more of a student in her event, so the more she understands it, the more she can apply herself. She’s a very driven person. The more she learns about her event, the more prepared she is to compete at a very high level.”

Ashmore displays her drive by staying in the weight room after practice has concluded to do extra pull ups, squats, curls and anything else necessary to improve.

“I keep her focused on small things at first so she’s not overwhelmed by the big picture, but at the same time we have to keep the big picture in mind,” Mackel said. “If she can keep the fire lit, she can take it as far as she wants to go. She has got to keep the fire from within lit and burning hot.”

If anything, that flame is growing as Ashmore continues to light up leaderboards in every meet the Mean Green compete in, and she continues to strive to break every record she has ever set.

After this year, Ashmore has two years left to reach that coveted 14 feet. In the mean time, she has found her home away from home with the North Texas track team.

As she strives to be the best, she continues to focus on the bigger picture in her track career, but she appreciates how far she has come since those years in middle school when she first picked up a pole and began sprinting at the bar.

“I just want to do my best everyday, and I know that is going to help me in the long run,” Ashmore said. “Being a collegiate athlete, I’m super proud of that. It’s been a long road, but I think this is a great achievement being I’m here.”

Featured Image: Bailey Ashmore prepares to vault into the mat during a track and field practice at Fouts Field. Ashmore began pole vaulting in seventh grade and broke a record as a sophomore. Paige Bruneman

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Simreen Kheraj

Simreen Kheraj

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