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Sparkman High sophomore sensation Alijah Vaughn is making vibes among the state track circles by posting marvelous times after only in his second full season of competing. Photo Contributed

Sprinter Alijah Vaughn At Maximum Velocity

HARVEST- Born in the state of Maryland and making his way to Harvest by way of the United Kingdom, Alijah Vaughn has settled in with the Sparkman High track team and has made waves among the track competition across Alabama, as well as the United States.

With his parents, Anthony and Atiya Vaughn and an older sister, the 16-year old sophomore made his way to Harvest in December 2020. He grew up playing multiple sports including basketball, baseball, soccer and rugby and even earned a red belt in karate. Going into his eighth grade of his education his parents urged him to find a sport to get into and possess a passion for. He heard of the track program at Sparkman and soon made his way to the sport under the guidance of Sparkman track head coach Jeff McNealey, who said of his shining sophomore star, “He really showed signs of being someone special the day he arrived in our program. Once he started with success, he began to set goals. He’s coachable, will listen, you can challenge him and he’s really driven.”

Vaughn sets a goal to win each time he steps into the starting block by mentally seeing how he is going to get out of the block quickly and smoothly. Once the starting gun fires, Vaughn burst quickly with full extension of his entire body, and he fires his arm up and out in full effort to receive the maximum thrust on his way into each race. “Once I begin, I follow through with my arms and legs and set my sights on the finish line where I follow through all the way past the line. I execute my start the way I was taught. I pump my arms as fast as I can as your legs will follow. I try and reach my maximum velocity after 30 meters.”

The Olympics. That’s his final goal as a sprinter. He wants to set world record marks in both the 100 and 200 events. He has yet to think about college, but he knows if he continues to excel, schools will be knocking at his door in efforts to obtain his extraordinary talents, which include indoor and outdoor track. He recently won the indoor track state championship in the 60-meter dash with a personal best time of 6.84 seconds, which ranks his No. 3 in the country among his sophomore class. His times in the outdoor track season are just as impressive. In the 100meter, his best is 10.6 seconds which is No. 1 in Alabama among all classes and No. 30 in the U.S. amongst the sophomore class. In the 200meter, Vaughn has a best time of 21.40 seconds, which is second in Alabama and puts him No. 14 in his sophomore class in the country.

For all his amazing feats so far into his sophomore school year, it’s astonishing to know he missed nearly his entire eighth grade season of track. While still very early in the season action, Vaughn suffered a torn muscle in his left hip leaving him no choice to just sit out the season and rest his hip/leg. He finally made his way back from the injury as a freshman and has yet to cease in his record setting efforts.

“I think about track every day and I even dream of it, but the sport doesn’t consume me,” added Vaughn, who knows how to play the piano and clarinet after several years of taking lessons, which came to an end almost four years ago. He also has a natural talent of being able to draw. Each day prior to practice, Vaughn asks his friends what he should draw on Coach McNealey’s white board as McNealey is asked to identify what the figure is. Vaughn has drawn a variety of figures including Shrek, a dinosaur and others. One day, McNealey was asked is the figure drawn was a chicken or parrot.

Vaughn is a team athlete as he also runs for the school record setting relays squads in the 4×100, 4×200 and 4x400meter events. McNealey added, “He has lots of friends on the team and he gives 100-percent at every practice. His parents are also very supportive. He’s an excellent student (3.75 grade point average). As far as his track talents, he just realized what he can do. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out.”

“If I don’t do well in a race I try to be better as I use my competitiveness in everything I do in my life,” said Vaughn, who competes for the summer track club of Huntsville, which utilizes the track facilities at Madison Academy High. “For good luck I wear the same red/gray/blue socks at each meet.”

As just a sophomore, his raw talents are not related to luck. Those natural talents come from his soul as he reaches maximum velocity in every aspect of his life.

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