Prepping for the next hurdle Indoor track: At first, Malcolm Vaughn wanted to do sprints, but since that freshman wish, he's become one of the state's best in two events, high jump and hurdles. Next stop, College Park?

February 02, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Hayes Henderson didn't pull any punches when describing Malcolm Vaughn's debut as a freshman on Meade's track and field team.

"He was a scared little kid [who]didn't want to do much of anything," said Henderson. "Sometimes he would cry when I made him stay after practice to run."

Four years later, that "little kid" has developed into one of the state's best in two specialties, high jump and hurdles. The only tears he plans on shedding these days are those of joy.

Vaughn started his final postseason in indoor track by winning the high jump and the 55-meter hurdles at last month's Anne Arundel County Championships. His efforts helped the Mustangs snatch the boys team title away from Old Mill, which was trying for its seventh consecutive county crown.

"Malcolm is a great kid. He's matured a lot," said Henderson, laughing at the thought of his star's humble beginnings. "It's funny that he's excelling at the two events that he didn't even want to do as a ninth-grader."

Like many freshmen who decide to join the track team, Vaughn wanted to be a sprinter. When his coach asked him to work out with the high jumpers and hurdlers, Vaughn groaned.

Henderson, who works exclusively with the Meade's male and female hurdlers and the high jumpers, eventually convinced his budding superstar that he was "built" for the two events. Once Vaughn bought into that reasoning, he was off and running.

"When Coach Henderson told me what events he wanted me to concentrate I didn't think I could do it," said Vaughn, now 6 feet, 160 pounds. "I was in denial. I thought I was too short. But once I started with the program and got the basics down, I started to build some confidence."

And a collection of medals.

Last winter, Vaughn broke out of the shadow of teammate Damion Moss, last year's Anne Arundel County Track and Field Performer of the Year, and was named All-County after clearing a personal best 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump and winning a region title in the same event.

The senior from Severn will get a chance to defend that title at Wednesday's Class 3A-4A Central region championships at Baltimore's 5th Regiment Armory. He plans to make the most of the opportunity.

"I'm going all out," said Vaughn, who enters the meet with the metro area's top performances in the high jump (6-6) and hurdles (7.5). "Coach Henderson thinks our team can take the region, and I'm going to do everything I can to try [to]make it happen."

Vaughn's efforts this season, which included victories in the high jump and hurdles at the Baltimore Metro Invitational, haven't gone unnoticed. Several colleges, including the University of Connecticut, are wooing him, but if Vaughn has his "druthers," he will be taking his act to the University of Maryland.

"He's one of the best multi-event people we've ever had at Meade," said Meade coach Jay Cuthbert. "He's long and lean, has good legs on him, and he is a good athlete. He's competing with a lot of confidence right now.

"He was a little shy and timid when he came in here, and he wasn't real sure of himself, but if you watch him compete now, it's obvious that he's overcome all that."

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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