Sports

Redmond hurdler Porter invited to Down Under Sports games

Redmond
Redmond's Courtney Porter, center, of Bellevue Christian competes at the 1A state meet.
— image credit: Courtesy of “Doc” Sleight

Courtney Porter launched her gymnastics and dancing careers when she was 3 years old. Take those two sports, add in some running and natural talent and a stellar high school hurdler has emerged on the track scene.

As a freshman last May, the 15-year-old Redmond resident and Bellevue Christian School student took first in league and districts in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles and placed second at the 1A state championships in both events. At Eastern Washington University in Cheney, she notched times of 15.64 seconds and 45.92 seconds, respectively, in the 100 and 300 hurdles at state.

Porter — who also competed in the pole vault and 4x200-meter relay — earned the Bellevue Christian girls Hustle Award last season, as well.

“I think my dedication through all the practices and my coaches really helped me. My coaches were always really on me about trying to do my best all the time, and so that just really got my mindset going,” said Porter, adding that dance and gymnastics gave her the muscle structure and form to excel at hurdles.

“When I got to state, it was really a blessing because I worked so hard for that. Afterward, it was just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is actually happening’… it was amazing.”

Porter wasn’t the only one who was pleased with her performances last year. The Down Under Sports committee sent her a letter in September, inviting her to join the Washington state team at its international games in July in Australia. Founded in 1989, the games also feature football, basketball, volleyball, cross country and wrestling.

“I feel really blessed and amazed that they would pick me. I feel like my dedication and hard work has paid off,” said Porter, who began running in seventh grade, but turned things up a few notches as a freshman.

Added Kim Porter, Courtney’s mother: “She’s very intense, very focused. I don’t think she can even hear us yelling for her when she’s running. All she’s thinking about is running.”

Courtney sets high standards for herself, Kim said, and is driven to set a good example for her teammates.

“I think that doing really well in this sport, I feel like it’s humbled me a lot. God has given me this talent that I should use to show others that if you work hard, then you can also be where I am and it will pay off,” Courtney said.

She likes running in general — and leaping over things, she laughed. Other favorite parts of running are the competition, the adrenaline and meeting other athletes.

Reaching the finish line sets her emotions alight: “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh, I gotta do this! I gotta do this!’”

Due to the wear and tear of her right elbow, Courtney’s gymnastics career ended three years ago, but she’s still dancing. She’s well-skilled in ballet, jazz, hip hop, pointe and lyrical dance, and this holiday season, she’s a member of the dance troupe at Snowflake Lane in Bellevue.

At school, she sports a 4.0 grade-point average and plays trumpet in the jazz band and symphonic wind ensemble.

Come February, she’ll be back out on the track and concentrating on clearing those hurdles again and making it back to the state meet.

If you are interested in sponsoring Courtney for the Down Under Games, contact porterjon@comcast.net.

 

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