ST. ALBANS — First-year runner for the BFA St. Albans cross country team, Loghan Hughes, has turned some heads in Vermont this fall.
Hughes’ success is no surprise to Mike Mashtare, the BFA St. Albans cross country team coach.
“Loghan is an extremely hard worker. She always asks what she should do for a workout if practice is canceled because of weather,” said Mashtare.
“She worked very hard over the summer to put herself in the position she is in--one of the best runners in the state of Vermont this fall.”
Hughes’ hard work has paid big dividends this season.
“She currently has the 13th fastest time in the state, 8th in DI, and she is the 3rd fastest junior in the state,” said Mashtare.
“Loghan has certainly exceeded what is expected of a first-year runner. She’s very competitive and focused.”
In her short running career, Hughes has already left her mark on the BFA girls’ running program.
“She goes right after the top runners and goes toe to toe with them,” said Mashtare.
“At this point in her short career, she is the third fastest girl to ever run for BFA--only six seconds behind Marcie Sawyer and Marika Isom, who have both run a time of 19:44.”
Hughes, a junior at BFA, made a choice to run over the summer of 2020.
“I ran over the summer to stay in shape for lacrosse. I was running with a friend, Iris Burns, and I decided to give cross country a shot,” said Hughes.
Hughes has already found some courses that are her favorites.
“I like running at Hard’ack because it feels like home, and I race well there,” said Hughes.
“The CVU course was good too. There were a lot of hills, and you could see where your training was showing through as you were passing people.”
Earning the distinction as the third-fastest female runner for BFA came as a pleasant surprise.
“I was surprised, excited, and proud, and I’d like to go from the record. I’m not far off, and I have another year,” said Hughes.
Never having run competitively before this season, Hughes had a big learning curve.
“I came into it with goals--I know where I stood over the summer, but I didn’t know where I stood against other people,” said Hughes.
“As the season developed, I expanded my goals from personal to a team thing--can I beat the girls I need to be, and how does my placement affect the team?”
Hughes thanked her coaches for helping her succeed.
“I have nothing but positive things to say for the coaches. Coach Mashtare is awesome. He convinced me to run and has helped me get faster,” said Hughes.
“Coach Orla Walsh has talked to me about mental toughness and the fact that your mind will quit before your body does. You have to overcome in your head, and your body will overcome.
“I’ve used that in the last couple of races--you can see the people ahead of you, and you have to know you can get ahead of them.”
The running-specific workouts have been vital to Hughes’ improvement.
“I had never done run-specific workouts or done a consistent training plan, and that was very helpful,” said Hughes.
“That’s what got me to increase my speed over the season--having that plan and sticking to it.”
Hughes’ coaches and teammates have been a tremendous inspiration, but another Vermont runner has also motivated Hughes.
“When we spoke with Elle Purrier at the running camp this summer, she was awesome, and she inspired me. It opened up to me that running is a sport, and I could actually go someplace with it,” said Hughes.
Hughes thanked her coaches and her friend Iris for their help with running; she also thanked her brother William.
“William always runs with me on the days we don’t have practice. It’s fun to have Will to go through it with me,” said Hughes.
When asked about what tips she’d give about running, Hughes spoke with confidence.
“Running is such an individual sport. Anytime you get out there, and you’re going for a run, you’re going to get faster no matter what,” said Hughes.
“If you’re doing something, you’re going to improve with it.”
The BFA runners will compete in the 5,000meter at the 2020 state tournament in Thetford this weekend, and Hughes is ready to race with her team.
“The team aspect is the best part of our program; everyone is there for you, no matter how fast you are.”