ANNA — Taking on the long-distance double at the state track meet might be a daunting task for Courtnie Hughes if she didn’t have an easy avenue for advice.
Hughes is trying to follow in the footsteps of her older brother, Cody, who was the state champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200 during his senior year in 2008.
"He wants to give me the best advice he can. He knows how to tell me what to do and help me succeed," Hughes said. "I look up to my brother and see him as a role model. I watched him grow up running and I feel like that’s my thing too."
The Anna freshman will run the 3,200 at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin and then return to compete in the 1,600 at 8:45 p.m. that night.
"It was a dream to make it to state as a freshman," Hughes said. "Especially in both events. I’ve got to come back prepared mentally either way if I medal or don’t medal in the 3,200."
She won the Class 3A Region II title in the 1,600 with a time of 5:17.66, more than three seconds ahead of Sanger’s Bryce Perry, while Perry took the 3,200 title two seconds in front of Hughes, who had a time of 11:24.87.
"I really like running the mile," Hughes said. "I didn’t think about getting first because I’m a freshman and was going up against really good people."
Among state qualifiers Hughes is in position to medal in both events. She is seeded third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200. College Station’s Kelsie Warren has the top time in each race while Miranda Prado of Lorena has the second-best efforts.
"I’m thinking to do my best and I’ve trained so hard to get where I am," Hughes said. "I’m looking to do my best, get a PR maybe."
Both of her regional times provided new personal bests and were improvements from the start of the season. She has lowered her time in the 3,200 by nine seconds and Hughes is down five seconds in the 1,600.
"I usually go straight to the front because that’s when I’m focused," she said.
Hughes has already competed on the big stage, having finished 16th at the Class 3A state cross-country meet in the fall.
"My brother was 10th his freshman year," she said. "It’s a competitive thing. I knew I wanted to be something in track."