Yesterday's Pangaea International Track Meet at the 5th Regiment Armory meant a lot, as usual, to all the high school competitors, but it carried extra importance for Mervo senior hurdler Vaughn DeVaughn.
One year ago last Saturday, DeVaughn was preparing, along with his teammates, for the Pangaea, a nonprofit-sponsored exchange program that pits track athletes from Russia and Maryland against each other. DeVaughn was set to try for a gold medal that day when tragedy struck.
DeVaughn's mother died.
"I was really looking forward to the meet last year, but obviously I never got to go," DeVaughn softly recalled yesterday after winning the boys high hurdles in a time of 7.70 seconds. "This race, this whole season, I'm dedicating to my mother. That's what I was thinking about during the race."
DeVaughn was one of many athletes yesterday who had memorable performances in the seventh annual Pangaea meet. nTC an individual competition with no team scores, one meet record fell and another was tied.
Russian pole vaulter Pavel Golubev broke the Pangaea record with a vault of 15 feet, 2 inches. Golubev wowed the crowd with each vault and received a standing ovation from the fans after his record-breaking attempt.
Several other Russian athletes also fared well. Pavel Kovalev easily won the shot put with a throw of 49 feet, 6 inches, and Marina Gunko won the girls pole vault with a height of 8 feet.
"I like coming here and competing against big strong American boys," Kovalev said in broken English. "They treat us very well."
The Maryland high school athletes dominated most of the track events, however. Bernard Williams from Carver blazed to a 6.30 time in the boys 55 hurdles, tying the meet record.
The boys from Mervo also had a very strong meet, taking three gold medals and two silvers. The Mervo first-place finishers were DeVaughn, and Tyree Byron in the 500 meters, as well as Mervo's 4x800 relay team. Byron beat teammate Garfield Thompson by two-tenths of a second with a time of 1: 09.4.
On the girls side, Eleanor Roosevelt High School from Prince George's County collected two golds, four silvers, and one bronze medal. Roosevelt's Amber Robinson out-distanced everyone in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.2 seconds, and Ola Sesay captured the girls high hurdles in 8.46.
Byron said he enjoyed the event's uniqueness, adding: "It's fun, because if you think about it we're not that much different from the Russian kids. Winning is the same in any country."
Pub Date: 12/13/96