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“Just Jump”…the advice is simple but these two words continue to inspire Andee Allen to new heights as the Atoka High School senior attempts to raise the bar higher while seeking a gold medal in the pole vault at the OSSAA state championships this spring.

After clearing the bar at 10’0 to claim the silver medal during her 2019 sophomore campaign and then denied a chance to compete last spring due to Covid-19 cancelling spring sports, Allen is all smiles and ready to go for gold. “Last year’s circumstances have inspired me to treat every jump like it will be my last,” said Allen who has equaled her personal best set two years ago again in 2021. “My pole vault coach Robert McDonald’s two words of advice keeps things simple when technicalities can overwhelm you.”

Allen admits that physical strength is a plus but the key to success in pole vaulting is her mental approach. “Without question, the most challenging aspect in my sport is maintaining mental focus,” said Allen. “The first thing I do when I step on the runway is take a breath, clear my mind and visualize each aspect of a perfect jump.”

The mental focus is without question a part of Allen’s life everyday evidenced by her posting a 4.21 GPA while ranking number one in the class of 2021 with membership in the National Honor Society.

Athletics and academics are just part of the achievements of Allen that draw praise from her coach. “Andee is the most polite and respecting athlete a person can coach but she is still a driven competitor to be the best in everything she does,” explained Atoka girls track coach Chet Braudrick. “Because of her spirit to lend a helping hand to anyone, she’s always willing to help and give advice to any vaulter she competes against.”

Allen also credits the impact of family examples for her success in everything she does. “My parents have taught me the values of hard-work, tenacity, selflessness and love,” Allen said with conviction. “I want my efforts to be an outward expression of my inward values. Character is determined by morals, habits and choices we make.”

With one eye focused on pursuing a future career in pharmaceutical services following graduation and the other on winning the gold medal at state, the vision is 20-20 that Andee Allen will find success while proving that Character Counts.

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