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~Originally printed in Angelus News
My faith is my anchor, every day of my life.
Finding the right track, or field actually, took a little longer for Charlotte Allison '20, who took up diving and gymnastics, and then volleyball, before a coach at La Reina High School, noting her athleticism, suggested she try high jump.
“I’d never heard of high jump,” said Allison, an effervescent 17-year-old from Ventura. “So in my sophomore year I tried it, and ended up setting a school record [at 5 feet 3 inches].”
In her junior season, Allison finished second in the CIF-SS Division 4 finals, and on Feb. 22 she jumped 5 feet, 2 inches, tied for second best in the Southern Section, while long jumping a section-best 17 feet, 4.5 inches. On March 7, at the offhand suggestion of her coach, Dave Avila, she tried triple jump for the first time and — after googling “triple jump for dummies” — posted a mark of 34 feet, 1 inch, setting another school record.
“I was telling my coach before every practice, ‘I’m going to State [finals] this year,’” she said. “Then came the day when I checked my email between classes and saw that the season had been canceled. My knees buckled, and I just fell apart crying. It was so heart-wrenching; it felt like such a big step backward.”
Having committed to attend Oregon in the fall, Allison had counted on this season to work toward becoming a heptathlete. To make time for training, she’d asked for time off from her coaching job at Gold Coast Gymnastics.
“Obviously, those plans have changed,” she said with a smile. “I hope to make the Oregon team as a walk-on, so I’m doing my best to stay focused and stay in shape, because sports help me stay focused. The busier I am, the more I accomplish.”
That includes a full academic load, including AP statistics and AP calculus. “I’m a business major,” Allison explained, “but I like challenging classes, because my goal is sports medicine. All the teachers and coaches at La Reina push us to be the best we can be.”
“When Charlotte puts her mind to something she will make it happen,” Avila said. “She is one of the most determined athletes I have ever seen. That, in combination with her talent and hard work, is what every coach wants to see in an athlete.”
Allison has found “amazing support” from her family, friends, and teachers, and as a team captain tries to offer the same support to those in her life. But what has helped her most in this challenging period of her young life is her faith in God.
“My faith is my anchor, every day of my life,” said Allison, who attends Mission Church in Ventura but treasures her Catholic school experience. “Knowing that God is always there, that he will never give up on me, helps me try to be a better person. And I feel closer to God each day, especially when I’m at La Reina. To be able to pray before class, to integrate faith into every aspect of your life is inspiring; it makes me stronger.”