In 2016, senior high jumper Courtney Avery literally set the bar for Lehigh track and field by becoming the first All-American in program history. As she prepared for her senior year, she talked about her greatest achievements so far, how she ended up at Lehigh, and her plans after she graduates this spring.
HOMETOWN: Wynantskill, N.Y.
HONORS: Earned Second-Team
All-America honors after tying for 11th place in the high jump at the 2016 NCAA National Championships, and also won her second straight outdoor Patriot League Championship with a jump of 1.8 meters. In total, has won six league championships and is the school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor high jump.
HOW I ENDED UP IN TRACK & FIELD: I started running track when I was a freshman in high school. My older sister was on the team and my basketball coach encouraged me along with a few other girls on the basketball team to join track.
HOW I ENDED UP AS A HIGH JUMPER: When I first started track, in high school, I didn’t really know anything about the different field events you could also participate in. I was really only concerned about the running events. During the first few weeks of practice, my coach was introducing us to all the different events and allowing us to try them if we wanted. When my coach asked if anyone wanted to try high jumping, I volunteered. I was always somewhat aware of my jumping ability when I was playing basketball but I never thought it would be useful outside of basketball.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF MY EVENT IS ... : There are so many tiny components that need to come together in order to have a successful jump. I think one of the biggest challenges is getting all of those components to come together at once and keeping your jumps consistent.
THE KEY TO A PERFECT JUMP IS ... : The key to having a perfect jump, for me personally just is getting a lot of speed when approaching the bar and having really good knee drive. These are two aspects of my jump that I’ve really been focusing on and can be attributed to my success, specifically in the past year.
BEST MOMENT OF MY LEHIGH CAREER SO FAR: One of the best moments of my Lehigh career so far was definitely winning the Eastern Regional meet in May at the University of North Florida. Finishing top 12 in this meet qualified me to go to the NCAA Outdoor National Championship at the University of Oregon. Upon starting the competition I would have been very happy finishing anywhere in the top 12, so actually winning the competition was a little unexpected and was a great feeling.
THE BEST THING ABOUT LEHIGH AS A UNIVERSITY IS … : What stood out to me the most when making my decision to come here was having the opportunity to compete in Division 1 athletics as well as receiving an incredible education. I really get the best of both worlds being here!