Shelbi Vaughan Breaks National Record
Senior Shelbi Vaughan enters the discus ring calm and ready. Vaughan prepares herself, wiping dust and dirt off of her discus, then sets the towel down and gets in her throwing stance. She bends down, holding her discus in her right hand, makes a violent 360-degree turn and heaves the discus as far as her body will allow it.
“It’s exciting to do what I do; not too many 17-year-olds can say they’ve thrown that far and get this opportunity,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan and Coach Edward Barry wait as the field workers measure her throw. Anticipating her measurement, the field workers acquire the number, 191 feet and 6 inches. Speechless at the announcement, Vaughan runs back to her coach and friends to spread the word she broke a national throwing record in girls’ discus. Every year Vaughan increases her distance by about 15 feet.
“It’s awesome I always seem to get better,” Vaughan said.
In 2011, Vaughan won the 5-5A State Championship in discus as well as making the USA Junior Olympics team in June. Taking third in her class, Vaughan made herself known among her competitors. All of which she achieved by throwing in the 175 feet range. With an increase of almost 20 feet, Vaughan qualified to make a run in the 2012 summer Junior Olympic trials.
“I’m a little scared and nervous,” Vaughan said. “I’m kind of intimidated by the other competitors because they have probably done this more than once.”
To qualify for the Junior Olympic trials, Vaughan had to throw 185 feet, which she surpassed by a 6 feet.
“I’m always competing with myself and trying to beat my personal records,” Vaughan said. “I’m always getting better.”
In this case it comes not only as a personal best, but also as a national best. Although Vaughan is dedicated to discus and shot put, she produces results, but she hasn’t been doing it for half of her life. She thinks things would have been different had she not transferred to Legacy.
“If I hadn’t come to Legacy I would probably still be a sprinter or more focused on volleyball,” Vaughan said.
Before her junior year, Vaughan attended Azle. She played volleyball and ran the 100-meter dash. At Legacy Vaughan joined track and ran and decided to take part in shot put and discus as she had done in junior high.
“I started throwing in seventh grade, and I liked it,” Vaughan said. “The throwing coach made me [try], it took some training for me to get pretty good [at it].”
As she joined track and began her training Coach Barry realized that he had yet another gifted athlete throwing for him. Senior Kayla Taylor throws discus and shot as well. Taylor made it to state 5-5A Championship along with Vaughan last year. Vaughan finished state winning double gold, beating her record in discus and shot put. In discus she threw 187 feet and 10 inches. In shot put she threw 50 feet and 1.25 inches. With two state champions, Coach Barry and his team are amazed at what they have seen in Vaughan. Junior Terrance Woodall has thrown with Vaughan for two years now.
“I never thought she would be this good. I figured she would be only above average, not above amazing,” Woodall said. “She’s a hard worker and she puts in the work.”
Vaughan sees her track teammates six days of every week during track season. Seeing her teammates and coaches so often allows everybody to get to know each other better.
“It is gratifying to watch a young lady mature and grow in her academic as well as athletic endeavors,” Barry said. “She puts in many hours which have proven that hard work does pay off.”
Signing to The University of Texas A&M and having the potential to become a Junior Olympian six years in the making, Vaughan has the chance to do something not many girls her age can do. Vaughan is set to graduate in June and will continue training through the summer, possibly going to the Junior Olympics in Maryland, Va. and then to college.
“It’s just something I love to do,” Vaughan said. “I had no idea a month ago I would be this good.”