Works pays off when Fox Chapel runner shatters personal best time

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Saturday, September 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel junior cross country runner Ethan Vaughan wanted to get below 17 minutes this season. Last season, Vaughan plateaued with a best time of 17 minutes, 2 seconds.

During the Kiski Invitational on Sept. 15 at Northmoreland Park, Vaughan showed what a summer of increased mileage and cross training could provide.

Vaughan won the race with a time of 15:58.7.

“Realistically, I was so ready to get below 17,” Vaughan said. “I plateaued at 17:02 last year. Getting sub-16 was insane. I am very happy.”

Fox Chapel’s boys team had four of the top 10 finishers at the event. Rowan Gwin, who was in his first race back from an injury, finished third in 16:35. David Black (seventh, 16:59.7), Michael Costello (ninth, 17:10.4) and Nicky Clump (14th, 17:29.9) rounded out the top five for Fox Chapel.

Foxes coach Tom Moul said that Vaughan increased his mileage over the summer.

“He’s been training really well,” Moul said. “He’s been leading the guys in our training sessions. He built up to a decent amount of mileage over the summer. He has some goals and is very team-oriented.”

In addition to upping his running mileage during the week, Vaughan was able to do some long bike runs on the Greater Allegheny Passage with his parents. Vaughan said the longest stretch of trail they tackled was an 80-mile trip.

“It was actually a lot of the same,” Vaughan said. “It was the same stuff, but faster and more. That’s the thing with everything in life. It just scaled up.”

Fox Chapel competed at the Foundation Meet, which was scheduled for Sept. 23 in Hershey at the site of the PIAA Class 3A championship meet. Results were too late for this edition.

Vaughan won’t compete at the Foundation Meet due to a precautionary injury issue with his hip. Moul said he will be an important part of Fox Chapel’s quest to win a fifth straight section title.

Moul said Vaughan is on a similar trajectory as other runners when it comes to training.

“That was basically if we can up the mileage here and in a slow way,” Moul said. “When those guys come in as ninth graders, they start on a minutes program and a certain amount of mileage. When they are juniors, we increase it more.”

Fox Chapel’s girls team also had a few strong performances at the Kiski Invitational. Clara Kelley placed eighth with a time of 20:37.2. Cecilia Ressler and Sarah Michalak finished in 10th and 12th place, respectively.

Vaughan is still working on biking to stay sharp as he works through his hip pain.

“I do feel like the training will carry me through,” Vaughan said. “Biking will help me maintain my fitness level. My level of fitness is good. I want to be faster for WPIALs.”

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