Blind girl is one of the best pole vaulters in Texas
Despite being blind, 16-year-old Charlotte Brown is a pole vaulter. She earned a tie for fourth place in the event at the Texas high school state championships. On one vault, she soared more than 11 feet.
Charlotte finished eighth a year ago. This year, she received a standing ovation at the University of Texas track.
Charlotte was clearly proud of her improved finish. But there was a hint of disappointment, too. The junior believes she can earn a state championship medal.
"The main goal is to win," she said. "Today wasn't my best day jumping. ... I moved up four places. Hopefully, I can move up four places next year and win it."
After she made a vault of 11 feet, her trouble came at 11-6. She twice hit the bar on her way up. When she finally fell to the mat after he third miss, she stood with slumped shoulders. But she drew a standing ovation.
"I wanted to go higher, but to be cheered like that is pretty cool," she said. Last year, she vaulted 10 feet, 6 inches at the state meet. So she went 6 inches higher this time.
Charlotte lives in Emory. It's about 65 miles east of Dallas. She was born with normal vision but developed cataracts when she was 16 weeks old. Her vision stabilized until she was about 11 when it started to worsen.
Now she says she's completely blind.
Although her sight is now completely gone, she believes she will be a better vaulter. That's because she won't have to constantly adjust to new training methods.
Charlotte also has a seeing-eye dog, Vador, nicknamed Darth. The dog sat behind the jumpers on the track and waited for her to finish.