Hughes wins Junior Olympics title with blazing time

Antwan Hughes Jr. recently won the Junior Olympic national championship in the 100 meter dash for 15/16 year old boys.

Hughes wins Junior Olympics title with blazing time
August 24
20:33 2022

Finishing the season at your best is the goal for every athlete. Antwan Hughes Jr. did just that as he concluded his 2022 outdoor season with an AAU Junior Olympic championship and a personal best time earlier this month

Hughes won the 15-16-year-old age group with a time of 10.48 seconds. Hughes’ times have been dropping over the last six weeks, so he felt this race was the perfect time for him to drop a new PR (personal record).

“I was feeling good and I want to say about a week or two before, I had run at the Russell Blunt [East Coast Invitational track meet] and I had ran 10.5 [in the 100 meter dash] again and 21.6 [in the 200 meter dash], so I was going into JO’s (Junior Olympics) pretty confident,” said Hughes Jr. about his mindset heading into the Junior Olympics. “I went in with the mindset that I was going to win the 100. I just knew it, I don’t know why, but I knew I was going to win.”

Antwan Hughes Sr., Hughes Jr.’s father and track coach, says his son has been gearing up to run a fast time for the last several weeks and that it wasn’t a surprise for him to drop a great time considering the work he has put in recently.  

“We had to balance the two between football and track, because he had football practice during the normal time we would have AAU practice, so we were having to go out in the heat of the day right at 2 o’clock and put some work in,” Hughes Sr. said. “We were just getting a lot of work in and his training partner Justin Miles ran with us this past summer, so they were training together.

“It was just some hardcore good work, man. Both he and Justin were locked in that they wanted to PR at the JO’s and we had already talked about what it was going to take to win. The goal was to go 10.4, so that’s what we were training to do.”

Because of a big fight between parents prior to the preliminary round of the boys 100-meter dash, all of the athletes were automatically placed into the semifinals. The problem was they only took the top eight fastest finishers to move onto the finals, which put a lot of pressure on Hughes.

“When I ran in the semifinals, I was going in a little nervous because they only took top eight to go to the finals,” Hughes Jr. said. “I was like I had to go out there and run my hardest, in the semifinals, just to make sure my spot is secured for the finals.”

For the finals, Hughes Jr. and the runners in his age group had to endure a weather delay for more than an hour.  Hughes Sr. was a little upset at how officials handled the athletes.

“I had a lot of concerns and as a matter of fact, I was heated,” said Hughes Sr. about how officials handled the weather delay. “He had warmed up real good and was ready to go and then the weather delay came, and they didn’t release the kids.

“These kids were out there with spikes, tank tops and shorts, ready to run and they took them to an air-conditioned room. That’s one of the worst things you can do when you’re getting ready to run is to sit in a room with a/c, so them guys were in there for like an hour. I was hopeful he could just come out and still run and not get hurt, because that was my main concern.”

Hughes Jr. said he was nervous about sitting in the air-conditioned room after warming up so well. During the delay, he was just trying to stay as loose as possible and not get tight. Hughes Jr. says he was so focused on the race that the delay didn’t bother him as much as he thought it would.

The race went exactly the way Hughes Jr. wanted it to go, he said. There was one competitor who was pushing him throughout the race; however, Hughes Jr. was able to overtake the other runner in the final 20 meters of the race to claim victory and a new PR. 

“It might have been the best race that I have had all year,” he said. “I really couldn’t say anything, all I could do was thank God because it was crazy. When I got off the podium and I saw my dad, it got real emotional for me and my dad.”

Hughes Jr. has battled through several nagging injuries this year and says he never imagined getting to this moment of being Junior Olympic champion and running such a fast time. Hughes Jr. credits the battles he and Miles had during the summer as the major reason for him reaching his peak this summer. 

As coach and father, Hughes Sr. was filled with emotion after witnessing his son become champion of his age group.

“It was a great feeling to be able to see the work that we have put in over all these years, because he has been running since he was five years old and the highest finish he has had was a sixth place finish in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Junior Olympics,” stated Hughes Sr. “Just to see it all pay off with all the work we have put in was great. He has battled some injuries this summer and that whole situation was crazy, so to go through all of that and see it all pay off was amazing.”

With two years of prep eligibility left, Hughes has a lot still left to accomplish before moving on to college. He says he and his father are moving on to the next step, which is indoor track in a few months, and says nothing is off the table as far as expectations for next year.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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