NEW YORK STATE CROSS COUNTRY: WAVERLY'S VAUGHN EXCITED TO GET ANOTHER CHANCE TO RUN AT STATES (2023-11-10)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
VERONA, N.Y. — Waverly senior Elizabeth Vaughn is excited to have another crack at the New York State Class C Cross Country Championships here at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
Vaughn, who finished 47th in 21:41.7 last year on the VVS course, is hoping familiarity with the course will play in her favor.
“I think it will be an advantage for me.
“There are things I remember about the course that I can’t really explain, like where to start pushing, and where you can take it a little easy,” said Vaughn. “There are certain areas of the course I’ll never forget.”
Vaughn has a strategy entering the race.
“Most likely, I’m going to push in the beginning, and try to keep up with two (Lansing) girls I was a little behind (at the Section IV Championships),” she said. “I’ll see if I can pass them, or stay just behind them.
“I have to be a little careful with my quads … they seem to be getting better, so I think I’ll push a little harder and look for a better time than last year,” added Vaughn.
Waverly coach Nate Culver believes if she follows her game plan, it will be a good day.
“Last year, she beat her seed place, and she beat a girl from Lansing, who had finished ahead of her at Sectionals,” said Culver. “Her goal was to beat her seed place, and beat someone from our Section, and she did both.
“This year is kind of a unique situation with Verona hosting again,” he noted. “She’s familiar with the course, and she has a time on that course, so her goal is to beat that time … and there are the two Lansing girls who edged her out at Sectionals, so she’s going to run with them, and the goal is to beat one or both of them.
“If she does that, it’s all we can ask,” added Culver. “She has nothing to save for, it’s her senior year, so let it all out.”
Vaughn notes States can be a little “stressful.”
“It’s not exactly a concern, but (States) can be a little stressful,” she said. “You’re at a different course, and you’re looking around … there are a lot of people there, and all the top runners from the other schools are there. It’s crazy, and it can be a little nerve-wracking.”
Culver said Vaughn qualifying for States is a boost to a Waverly cross-country program that has struggled for numbers in recent years.
“She has built her confidence up over the years, she has the experience,” said Culver. “This sport is her passion, it’s what she loves.
“She’s been fighting injuries the last couple years, so to see her make it back to States is exciting.
“It’s huge to get her to States,” noted Culver. “If anyone is paying attention to what we’re doing, with just four girls, we had a very high potential to get three of them to States, if not for the injuries.”
Speaking of Vaughn, as well as junior Harper Minaker, and sophomore Mackenzie Chamberlain, Culver said: “These girls are work horses … hopefully, the first building blocks to get us back to a full team.”
As for Vaughn, she’s not looking forward to end of Saturday’s race.
“I don’t want to think about it being my last race,” she said. “I’m going to be sobbing after the race.”
Vaughn’s race is the first one of the day, and is slated to begin at 9 a.m.
IN PHOTO: Waverly’s Elizabeth Vaughn. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.