AUSTIN — Emory Rains sophomore Charlotte Brown has amazed people for two years with her ability to pole vault despite being legally blind. On Saturday afternoon, she was the one who was amazed after receiving a National High School Spirit of Sport Award before the start of the evening events at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I never thought that just doing something fun, the pole vault, would be something that would inspire people.”

Brown, who has 20/400 vision in her right eye and only a pinhole field of vision in her left eye, received the award from the National Federation of High School Sports Associations. She competed in the 100, 200 and 4×400 relay at the regional meet and finished eighth Saturday in the Class 3A pole vault.

Brown can vault by counting off her steps and using the color contrast of the track and a green piece of artificial turf that is rolled out next to the runway. She has a personal best of 11 feet, 6 inches, but her top height Saturday was 10-6. The crowd gave her a standing ovation after her final vault.

“That was a little overwhelming,” she said. “I didn’t know I had so much support.”

The Spirit Award is part of an exciting month for Brown, a straight-A student who was diagnosed with unexplained vision loss in the sixth grade. In two weeks, she will travel to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J., to receive her first guide dog. She is scheduled to receive the dog on May 29, her 16th birthday.

“Most people get a car,” she said with a smile. “I’m getting a dog!”


 Brown Vaulter Magazine

Brown Vaulter Magazine

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