Former Centennial throwing standout Luke Vaughn last made our headlines in June 2018, when he won an NCAA championship in discus for the University of Memphis. Vaughn recently competed in the United States Championships, placing fourth in discus to qualify for the USA vs. Europe Match on Sept. 9 and 10 in Belarus. He offered his thoughts on that, as well as his future in the throwing world:
Had you heard of the “Match” before?
I have not, no. So it’s actually the first year they’re doing it. I guess ... everyone other than the United States keeps trying to come up with ways to beat the U.S., and they haven’t found one yet. I don’t know much about it. It’s the top four from each (entity).
What does it mean to you to have qualified for this U.S. team?
It’s super cool. It’s always been a goal to make a U.S. team. I was actually super bummed at first. I threw just under 62 (meters) in the meet on my opening throw. It was super easy — just a relaxed throw to get into the finals. So I thought I was going to go at least a couple meters farther. I was really close on a couple throws. My farthest ever was 65, which would’ve placed second or third and made the World Championships team, so that was my goal going into it. I was super bummed (not to make it). I got back to my hotel, and then my coach texted me and said, “You made a U.S. team.” I was like, “What?” So I was super excited going from being a place out of the World Championships ... (to) realizing I made the U.S. team and would be training for another month.
What’s the camaraderie like among the U.S. throwers?
It’s definitely competing against each other, but we’re still teammates and we’re still representing the U.S. together. I think most of throwing is, it’s like one of the few track events where the atmosphere is everyone wants to do well and everyone wants other people to do well for themselves. ... So I think it’ll be the same (in Belarus), and I guess even more encouraging toward each other going into this meet because we’re representing the same team.
What are your goals for this meet?
I’d like to make the podium. I’d like to get in the top three and throw over 65 meters.
You’re now an assistant coach at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. What has that experience been like?
It’s awesome. I love coaching. I’ve got some super good guys, and I missed college athletics. ... My coach at Memphis kept telling me from my first year of college that I’d be a really good coach and I should go into coaching one day. And I told him that he works way too much and no thank you, and five years later I’m coaching.