FILER — Katie Hughes tried to ignore the fact that she wasn’t getting much competition.
It happened in the basketball season, when Hughes led Filer to a state championship. There, it was ingrained in her mind to focus on her own business and block out what any opponent was doing. That was what it took to be a state champion.
It worked. She won the 3A discus title by two full feet and the shot put by almost four.
“Getting a good throw in early really helped, because I knew after a couple of throws I was going to be OK, so I could relax and throw it even farther,” said Hughes, the 2014 Times-News female thrower of the year. “I felt really good, because I had been there three times before, and the pressure of state basketball (a two-time finalist) is way more intense than in track. It almost didn’t feel like a state meet to me.”
Over the course of her four years, Hughes improved her shot put by eight feet, eclipsing a longstanding school record in the discipline.
She also broke her own discus record with help of a technical adjustment — her spin was off, so she spent half the season perfecting that.
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It left her with plenty of time to build the distance, which helped her leap from fifth to first in both events from her junior to senior years — the four ahead of her in 2013 were all seniors.
“I just knew that hard work was what was going to make it happen, so I worked as hard as I could,” said Hughes. “I was ready for my chance when all those girls graduated.”
Now she graduates and leaves the throws to those who looked up to her.
The 3A championship meet was Hughes’ last track and field competition. Also the state’s 3A player of the year for basketball, she’ll stick to the hardwood at the College of Southern Idaho.
“It’s still weird to think that’s it,” Hughes said. “But that was a pretty good way to go out.”