Blind high school vaulter in Texas nearly medals

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A blind high school pole vaulter cleared three heights at the Texas state championships to finish fourth, one spot short of a medal.

Charlotte Brown is a junior from the rural town of Emory. She uses a seeing-eye dog to navigate her way around the track and an electronic beeper near the mat to help her time her jumps.

Her vision has been deteriorating for years. Last year, she still had pinhole vision in one eye, but now says she is completely blind.

Brown was among the favorites Friday and she improved on her eighth-place finish from 2013. She cleared a top height of 11 feet but was knocked out of the Class 3A competition with three misses at 11-6.

She drew a standing ovation.

Charlotte Brown

Emory Rains High School’s Charlotte Brown competes in the Girls 3A pole vault at the UIL State Track & Field meet, Friday, May 9, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Brown, a pole vaulter who happens to be legally blind, starts on the clap from her coach and counts her steps on her approach. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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