Although legally blind, Charlotte Brown, will compete in state UIL track meet
UIL — Charlotte Brown, of Emory Rains High School, will be presented with the 2013 Section 6 National High School Spirit of Sport Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations on Saturday before the evening session of the Track & Field State Championships.
Although legally blind, Brown is a standout sophomore in academics and athletics. She has 20/400 vision in her right eye, and her left eye can only sense light and dark through a tiny pinhole of vision.
Brown, who participates in cross country, track and until recently basketball, has had to make certain adjustments in each sport.
In cross country, her teammates wear bells on their shoes to help lead her through the course. In basketball, she guarded the opposing team’s point guard who brings the ball down the court and can time a steal by listening to the dribble and anticipating the crossover of her opponent. In track, she runs the inside lanes where it is easiest to distinguish between the black of the track and the green of the infield grass. This year Brown qualified for four UIL regional track & field events: 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4x400-meter relay, and her state-qualifying event, pole vault.
Perhaps her most amazing feat is that the 5-foot-7 Brown cleared 11-6 in the pole vault to qualify for the UIL Track & Field State Meet. Due to her vision impairment, she sets a marker and times her steps so that she knows exactly when to plant the pole in the ground to make the vault. Brown will compete for a state championship in girls 3A pole-vault at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, as she continues to embody the spirit of high school athletics.
“Life is full of challenges; some are just bigger than others,” Brown says. “I don’t believe anything, even vision impairment, should stop you from doing something you love or enjoy. Being legally blind can be a little inconvenient at times but it’s those challenges that will make you strong.”
The National Federation of State High Schools Associations Spirit of Sport award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics. The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. Texas is located in Section 6. Each school year, the NFHS selects a winner for each section and a National winner.