Blind Pole Vaulter Charlotte Brown Wins Bronze At Texas State Meet

SC Featured: Spirit To Soar (10:54)

As her sight was dimming, Texas high school pole vaulter Charlotte Brown's determination grew. Despite being blind, she has qualified for the state championship. (10:54)

A bronze medal signified that Charlotte Brown was the third-best girls' pole-vaulter in the 4A Texas state meet Saturday. But a man with a newly carved walking stick and a song he composed in her honor told Brown it has always been more than her athletic success that has inspired people.

"It never seemed and still doesn't seem like a big thing to me," said Brown, a senior at Emory Rains High School in Emory, Texas, who has received national attention for overcoming blindness to accomplish her lofty track and field goals. "It's just pole vault to me. I'm not out changing the world jumping over a crossbar, but I'm always surprised and think it's so cool all the support I've received ..."

Some of that support came from a man from Austin, who came to the state meet last year with a handmade walking stick he created for Brown. He visited her again Saturday, saying he made her a better one and also wrote "Charlotte's Song" for her.

"He told me he lost his sight in an accident and had become reclusive," said Brown's private pole vault coach, Toby Howell. "But then he read a story about Charlotte and said it brought him out of his shell and made him go back to his music.

"His song is about how much joy she brings to what she does. I don't think she realizes it."

Brown, who finished eighth in the state meet as a sophomore and tied for fourth as a junior, was joined by Vador, her seeing eye dog, on the medal stand Saturday after she cleared 11 feet, 6 inches and missed at 11-9.

Dalhart High's Sydney King, who will be competing for the University of Oklahoma next year, cleared 12-3.

"I definitely should've gone higher today if I had done a few other parts technically better," Brown said. "But I have done better each year at state, so that's good. And I was happy I was on the medal stand."

Rains coach Jeff Lester also appreciated the progress.

"Any time you can get on the medal stand, it's great," he said. "She's getting better, and that's all that really matters. And emotionally, it's closure because the most rewarding thing as a coach is when a kid moves forward and goes on to better things, which Charlotte is doing."

Brown has been invited to walk on to the Purdue track team next fall. Her brother, Lachlan, is a hurdler for the Boilermakers.

"If I hadn't been going on to college, I think I'd be sad because it's over," she said. "But I still have track and four years of college and who knows what after that."