Blind pole vaulter chosen to compete at state level

High school student Aria Ottmueller is legally blind and has just qualified for the pole vault competition at the Arizona state track and field championships. CBS Arizona

PHOENIXAn Arizona high school student who is legally blind has qualified for this year's pole vault competition at the state track and field championships.

CBS5 Arizona reports that Aria Ottmueller, a Valley Christian High School student, has 20-400 vision and also has no depth perception or peripheral vision.

Ottmueller had already tried horse-back riding when she decided she wanted to compete in pole vaulting.

High school student Aria Ottmueller is legally blind and has just qualified for the pole vault competition at the Arizona state track and field championships.
CBS Arizona

"I talked to the head coach and he was just like, 'No you can't pole vault!'" she said.

But she kept asking so he agreed to let her try.

Ottmueller got help from pole vault coach Perry Fraley. He would tell her where to start on the track, then she would count her steps.

Fraley said as she got more and more confident she was "literally leaping, blind faith, into the pit".

Fraley's goal was to see Ottmueller qualify for state next year. She reached that milestone a year early, clearing the bar set at 6 feet, 7 inches.

Ottmueller has soared higher since then, jumping 7 feet at her last meet. She will compete at state level this weekend.

CBS5 Arizona reports Ottmueller may feature in an upcoming Sports Illustrated story.


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