Vaughan overcomes nerves to take gold

Hurdler overcomes injuries, disappointment to win final race

Walnut Grove's Jade Vaughan won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles event at the B.C. high school track and field championships on Saturday at Swangard Stadium.

Walnut Grove's Jade Vaughan won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles event at the B.C. high school track and field championships on Saturday at Swangard Stadium.

Since Grade 8, Jade Vaughan looked forward to the moment where she would stand atop the podium, the gold medal draped around her neck, after winning at the B.C. high school track and field championships.

Two years ago, she was forced to miss the track and field season because of injury, and then last year, while Vaughan was able to compete, her training and recovery were not at the point where she could run in her prefered event, the hurdles.

So this year marked the final try for the Grade 12 Walnut Grove Secondary student.

And all day, the 17-year-old felt nervous and sick leading up to the race, but when it came to perform, Vaughan went out a winner.

“It was a very happy experience,” she said on Monday, two days after taking the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at Swangard Stadium. She also won silver as part of the Gators’ 4×400 relay team.

“I have been working really hard for this and have been looking forward to high school provincials all through Grade 8.

“I really, really wanted to get the gold this year.”

In Saturday’s race, Vaughan was second after preliminaries, finishing in 1:05.95.

But in the finals, she shaved three seconds off her personal best, taking the gold in 1:02.38.

“It was really close, I just had to push very hard at the end.”

With the high school season now done, Vaughan will spend the summer training with her club team, the Coquitlam Cheetahs.

And then in August, she is off to the University of Texas at Arlington, where her older brother Jarid attended on scholarship. Having graduated in December, he is still involved with the university’s track and field program as an assistant coach.

Having her sibling there will be a great help.

“My brother is like my idol,” she said.

“He is like my best friend and my mentor.”