Charli Montalvo Is Going The Distance

Share this:

WAXHAW, NC – “Just one more day,” we tell ourselves as we drive home from work on Thursday evening or mutter under our breath as we indulge in the presence of the inlaws for another holiday season.

For Charli Montalvo, those four words meant tolerating another arduous day of practice for the Middle School Cuthbertson track team. After her first day, Charli was ready to throw in the towel, but her father had a better idea. “Just one more day,” Vic Montalvo promised his daughter. “If you don’t like it, then you can quit.”

Charli with words of encouragement on her arm written by her parents.
Charli with words of encouragement on her arm written by her parents.

Charli didn’t know that the first evening after her practice, her father, Vic, called her coach and said something simple: “I know you don’t know me, but she’s the hardest-working kid I know. If you could pull her aside and say five words to her.” The next day, Charli was put to work with different events, like hurdles and high jumps, courtesy of her coach, Remy Tamer, and was motivated to continue a sport she had no intention of loving. As days turned to months, and months turned into years, Charli’s hard work and dedication placed her on the varsity Cross Country team in ninth grade. Subsequently, it was the first year the team won the state championship, and they would maintain that title for the next four consecutive years with Charli on the team.

Cross Country wasn’t just about being a strong endurance athlete for Charli. It was also about influencing the lives of her teammates by putting her mind, body, and soul into the sport. Her presence birthed a nurturing atmosphere that inspired that exact loving nature in others. She was awarded the “Cavalier Pride Award,” four years in a row as someone who leads by example. During her senior year, Charli says, “I made it such a big priority to make the freshman comfortable the way the seniors made me comfortable when I was a freshman.”

Charli’s altruism and dedication in bringing the team to nationals didn’t come without setbacks, as she discovered a significant iron deficiency and severe soy allergy. While taking a break from training to focus on her health, Charli also learned that none of the college programs she was looking at recruited her. But like every race, Charli didn’t stop. Determined to run in college, Charli harnessed her momentum from running in the field into her passion for the sport and contacted the coach at High Point University. Though she was told her times did not meet the qualifying criteria for a traditional athlete, Charli’s merit and work ethic made her shine outside her numbers, which made her exactly the kind of incoming freshman athlete High Point was looking for.

With her health in check and a secured position with the High Point cross country team, Charli began her training again, and in the spring of her senior year, she shattered her own personal glass ceiling.  “Every race, she got a new PR. She kept getting better,” Vic Montalvo says about his daughter.

Big South Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year
Big South Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year

Now a first-year student studying exercise science at High Point, Charli is continuing to break her records. She recently placed ninth overall with a time of 17:59 and was awarded Big South’s Freshman Runner of the Year at the conference in Longwood, Virginia, and at the NCAA Regional meet, she was in the top ten of all the freshman students that meet.

It’s easy to say, “Just one more day.” Anyone with a dream knows it’s never that simple, but Charli has some advice. “If you love something, even if you may not be good at it, if you have a passion and you’re willing to work hard for it, and you put in the work. Work is so much greater than having talent. If you have the talent but don’t do the work, you’ll have nothing to show for it.” Charli is a beautiful reminder that we all have hidden gems within us, and if you’re willing to dig deep enough, “You can be something you never expected.”

Share this: