Cross country is all about pace and striking at the right time.
Menard eighth-grader Claire Vaughn and St. Mary’s Scott Maggio did exactly that after racing to top five finishes at the LHSAA state cross country meet in Natchitoches in November. Both runners also posted the top times for their respective genders, as Vaughn was the lone girls runner to crack the 20-minute mark and Maggio stood alone in recording a sub 17-minute time.
Those accomplishments earned them the honors as the outstanding female and male runners on the Town Talk’s All-Cenla Cross Country Team.
Bright present, even bright future
As only an eighth-grader, Menard cross country runner Claire Vaughn already has an accomplished resume.
After nabbing a fifth-place finish at the LHSAA state meet last year, she shaved 37 seconds from her time as she nabbed third and her second straight girls’ most outstanding runner award.
“It feels really good,” Vaughn said. “Working as a team made me a stronger runner, especially running with the boys. Working hard can pay off.”
Vaughn played a key role on the Lady Eagles’ squad that finished as runners-up to St. Thomas Aquinas at the LHSAA meet November in Natchitoches.
While the team accomplished a lot this season, despite not having a senior, Vaughn feels as if the future is bright for Menard.
“We have a couple of freshmen and three or four eighth graders on our state team this year,” Vaughn said. “Over the years, we’ll get better as a team and by our senior year, we’re going to be really good.”
According to Vaughn, the runners are very close on and off the course.
During the Lady Eagles’ district meet, they ran the first two miles as a team before splitting apart on the third mile.
“Teamwise, we’re really close to each other,” Vaughn said. “We’re like friends outside and inside of cross country. We have a really good bond and we go to different camps during the summer to help team bonding. It works really well.”
It also helps to have coach as established as Menard coach Wally Smith around.
Smith thinks that Vaughn is a special talent and she’s glad that he’s is her coach.”
“He knows a lot about running,” Vaughn said. “He’s really good towards the team. He’s hardcore, but in the end, he’s a great coach.”
No pain, no gain
Perseverance is key to get where you want.
St. Mary’s senior Scott Maggio gritted through an injured back to claim third at the LHSAA Class 1A boys race in his hometown of Natchitoches with a time of 16 minutes and 59.6 seconds.
“I was happy amid all of the injuries,” Maggio said. “I cramped up during the middle of the race, but to get on the podium was exciting. It was short of what I wanted. I wanted to win it all my senior year, but I have to get back out there for track season.”
A skilled runner for St. Mary’s — not just in the three-mile cross country race, but in the one- and two-mile races in track as well — Maggio has a legacy to uphold.
His father, Chris, ran for the Tigers in the late 1970s before going to Northwestern State.
For Scott, who signed with Louisiana Tech in November, his father was a big reason on why he decided to run.
“We ran one race together and I did well in it,” Scott said. “It kind of took off from there. He’s coached me all these years and that’s how I really started.”
While Scott cannot wait to be a Bulldog, he still has some unfinished business to tend during track season in the one- and two-mile events.
“I want to break the school record for both,” Scott said. “I broke the two-mile record last year and I want to break that. I want to break Dan Ahren’s record of 4:28 (in the one-mile) and I’m at 4:31 right now. I’m hoping to break that and win state.”
As for the All-Cenla honor, it is something he has been wanting to win.
“It’s a huge honor,” Maggio said. “This is one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had. I’ve started high school running in my freshman year,” Maggio said. “Then I saw guys like Jacob Chicola, Cameron Farris and Nic Teague (before me), I’ve always wanted to win this award. Senior year, it finally happened.”
2015 ALL-CENLA CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
(Based on state meet times)
Claire Vaughn, Menard, 19:08.1
Noelle Dunn, Menard, 20:31.3
Katharine Vaughn, Menard, 20:44.1
Trinity Walker, Rosepine, 20:55.8
Avery Long, Menard, 20:57.4
Alexis Tsethlikaiwyaco, Pickering, 20:58.0
Hannah Hays, Menard, 21:05.2
Maycee Lachney, Simpson, 21:12.8
Olivia Slayter, Grace Christian, 21:14.9
Sydney Staples, Anacoco, 21:26.0
Hannah Dahlhoff, Hornbeck, 21:30.9
Faith Michiels, Menard, 21:38.9
Haleigh Lachney, Simpson, 21:44.1
Jordan Campbell, Buckeye, 21:44.5
Hannah LaCaze, Pitkin, 22:01.7
Gabi Romero, Menard, 22:07.2
Cheyenne Vander, Rosepine, 22:08.3
Kierra Sanderlin, Pickering, 22:10.4
Brianne Perkin, Pitkin, 22:11.1
Gabriella Rangel, Anacoco, 22:16.8
Courtney LaCaze, Pitkin, 22:23.3
Scott Maggio, St. Mary’s, 16:59.6
Austin Millisor, Anacoco, 17:04.1
Andrew Barefield, Leesville, 17:30.7
Tanner Yates, Simpson, 17:35.5
Tyler Magnano, Grace Christian, 17:36.1
Cameron Farris, Pineville, 17:36.3
Zachary Brenner, Grace Christian, 17:38.7
Cole Robichaux, Menard, 17:38.8
Matthew Gallien, St. Mary’s, 17:46.7
Brett Schmidt, Leesville, 17:48.9
Kent Milton, Menard, 17:49.5
Nicholas Teague, Leesville, 17:53.7
Bradon Scalisl, Menard, 18:18.6
Jacob Seeling, Menard, 18:19.4
Brent Coscio, Anacoco, 18:23.0
Jessy Smith, Evans, 18:41.6
Kodey Bates, Georgetown, 18:48.1
Clinton Cogbill, Tioga, 18:48.5
Klayton Smith, Evans, 18:58.9
Chase Jones, Buckeye, 19:05.4
Brian Buono, Rosepine, 19:08.8