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‘So focused’: Charlotte high school athlete to compete on world stage

CHARLOTTE — A high school athlete from Charlotte will soon compete on the world stage to represent the Team USA in track and field.

Harding University’s Akala Garrett had to overcome several hurdles to get to that point, which made her a better athlete and stronger person.

“I’m so focused on getting to the finish line,” Garrett said. “It’s, like, keep going, keep going, keep going.”

The rising senior captured the gold medal three times in two weeks.

She won gold twice in Oregon at Nike’s Outdoor Nationals.

Garrett competed in the 400 hurdles and won gold at the USA Track and Field Championship for athletes under 20.

“It’s so cool. It’s so cool,” she said.

Her mother, Lasonja Collins, is also the athlete’s coach.

“I couldn’t be any prouder,” the mother said. “I actually had my eyes closed when the gun went off and when I opened my eyes, she was on the back stretch. And they were, like, ‘Akala Garrett in the lead.’ And I’m, like, ‘OK, here we go.’”

Over the last year, Garrett cleared nearly every hurdle in her way.

Collins is beyond proud her daughter earned a spot with Team USA to take on the world.

“She’s going to go out and represent North Carolina at the highest level, and she’s going to try to make the city of Charlotte proud,” Collins said. “And I know she is.”

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Garrett became the first female athlete in more than 10 years to win gold in the 100- and 400- meter hurdles at the Nike outdoor championship.

She will compete for the world championship in Colombia, which begins Aug. 1.

(Watch the video below: Charlotte company providing tape for U.S. Olympic skeleton athletes)