Vaughn Captures First U.S. Cross Country Crown

Brent Vaughn breaks the tape to win his first national cross country title. Photo: Harry Price

Pre-race afterthought breaks the tape in convincing fashion.

Written by: Mario Fraioli

For about 5 minutes after he dropped out of last Sunday’s USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston, Brent Vaughn considered hanging up his racing shoes for good. Less than 5 minutes after crossing the finish line victorious in the men’s open race at the USA Cross Country Championships held yesterday at San Diego’s Mission Bay Park, Vaughn was quite sure that he wouldn’t be having those thoughts again anytime soon.

Holding on to the bold move he made with two laps to go on the six-loop course, Vaughn broke the tape in 35 minutes and 46 seconds, six seconds ahead of the Oregon Track Club’s Andrew Bumbalough. Ed Moran of Williamsburg, Virginia finished third in 35:54. Pre-race favorite Matt Tegenkamp, Bumbalough’s teammate, finished fourth in 36:01.

“Finally!” Vaughn screamed seconds after crossing the finish line. “There were a lot of good runners in that race, so this was great for me personally.”

A large pack of eight runners, including Vaughn, Bumbalough, Moran, Tegenkamp, Ben True, Max King, Jorge Torres and Robert Cherseret were bunched together through the first four laps of the six-loop layout. Vaughn, who didn’t officially enter the race until mid-week, decided enough was enough with two laps to go and let his hard-earned fitness take control.

“I don’t want to be a pansy sitting up here and make excuses,” Vaughn said of last weekend’s DNF. “I just had a bad day. But because of the fitness I knew I was in, and the confidence in my coach and the confidence in my ability, I wanted to find a race. I didn’t want to waste this fitness, I’ve been working too hard. I wanted come out here and show myself that I can compete with these guys. I just wanted to come out here and get it back for myself.”

Vaughn, who was unsure immediately after the race if he would run in next month’s world championships in Spain, has his eyes set on qualifying for the World Championships team in the 10,000 meters on the track this summer.

“I’ll have to talk it over with my coach,” Vaughn said of the possibility of competing at the World Cross Country Championships next month. “I’d like to. It would be really special to put on that USA jersey and represent my country in Spain. We’ll see.”

Post-Race Interview: Click here to see what Vaughn had to say moments after he crossed the finish line.

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