JUMP FOR SUCCESS
Bloomsburg's Charly Schlauch doesn't run from pressure — she jumps toward it.
The junior recently competed at the Nike National High School Indoor Track and Field Championships in New York City. She came away 22nd in the nation with a triple jump distance of 36 feet, 9.75 inches. It was her best distance of the winter's indoor season, and it gave her a much greater perspective on what she wants to accomplish.
"I do feel with the bigger meets, it does make me feel the pressure. There are people there that are better than me," Schlauch said. "I feel the stress of that and it helps me because there aren't a lot of other jumpers and I can watch their form and learn a lot from them."
Schlauch wasn't certain she qualified until she got a text from Bloomsburg coach and Vaportrail trainer Tom Hughes stating she had been invited to nationals. Hughes says she was invited to the biggest meets for Nike, Under Armour and Adidas by hitting their standard mark.
"She's a lot further ahead than she was last year," Hughes said. "Competing against the best kids in the country will bring the best out of her."
Competing comes at a cost that's both physical and monetary for Schlauch. She battled injuries for much of her sophomore track season and decided to give up basketball this past winter to focus solely on bulking up and competing at indoor meets.
Since the events aren't through the high school, Schlauch's family helped register her at places such as Susquehanna, Alvernia, Lehigh, Penn State, Ocean Breeze in Staten Island and the Armory in Harlem.
"Her family is footing the bill for everything -- the hotel, entry fee, the travel," Hughes said. "It's a labor of love for the kid. ... Her family is a very strong support system. They're traveling to New York City and Houston, they're traveling her all over to help her achieve her goals."
Panther on prowl
Schlauch doesn't have to travel as far to accomplish her goals with the Panthers this spring. After winning silver in the triple jump her freshman year with a distance of 37 feet, 2 inches, nagging injuries forced her to settle for 10th last spring (36 feet). She and Hughes have a number in mind for her to stride for — one they wouldn't spill — but they feel the expectations are well within reach.
Hughes has made it a goal to take athletes he trains at Vaportrail and put them in big city situations and put the biggest high school meets into perspective. He thinks with Schlauch competing on the largest stages and proving she belongs, big things will occur.
"We take kids from Bloomsburg to the city and the family is navigating an uncomfortable environment," Hughes said. "From parking the car to walking to the track to seeing kids that don't look like them from massive programs. Everybody is on board to dealing with this stress. Now it's your time to perform and when you get back into the car, they start to internalize 'well, it can't be that hard once I get home.'
"Every big meet like that ends up feeling like a state championship meet with the stress and the movement. It's all practice and we've been trying to get kids in that situation in the winter months and it's been successful for us. I don't doubt Charly will be another success story."
For Schlauch, she wants to make it mind over matter, keeping things in perspective.
"I want to see growth in my mindset because my biggest problem is just keeping it positive," she said. "I just want to go out and have fun and I know it will lead to success."
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