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Aria Ottmueller headed to state championship

8:32 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (KPHO/CNN) - A high school pole vaulter isn't letting a disability hold her back from her dreams.

Aria Ottmueller is legally blind. The Arizona teenager has 20/400 vision, which means what a fully-sighted person can see at 400 feet away, Ottmueller has to be 20 feet away. But that didn't stop her from joining her high school track team.

At first, she says the head coach said no, but after training with her pole vaulting coach, she's not just on the team, she's qualified for the state championships.

"I talked to the head coach and he was like, no, you can't pole vault," said Ottmueller. "I'd hold it and he'd put it in the pit and he'd help me get the feel of jumping."

"As she got more and more confident and just literally leaping blind faith into the pit, we started moving her back, getting her a little bit more run, holding a little bit higher on the pole. Then she was gradually able to work her way into jumping actually in a meet," said her coach, Perry Fraley.

The goal was for Ottmueller to compete in state championships next year, but she reached that goal early.

The competition is scheduled for this weekend.


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