When Greenbrier High School’s Logan Hughes says he was snakebit, he means it literally and figuratively.
The junior cross country/trackster was on vacation with his family in North Carolina when a copperhead bit him on the left foot as he was walking home from a friend’s house, June 1.
Hughes was snakebit again after rehabbing the injury and getting a week of practice in with the Wolfpack, twisting the same foot and having to sit out another week.
Less than a month coming off an 11th-place finish in the mile at the 2013 Georgia High School Association Boys Class AAAAA state track meet, Hughes’ encounter with the snake was scary on a few levels.
“It swelled up to my knee and I couldn’t walk for a good two weeks, couldn’t even stand up,” said Hughes.
“That was a huge bummer and I was scared because there was a chance I wasn’t going to be able to run again because they didn’t know how scar tissue was going to be formed.”
After getting the leg back in shape with the help of physical therapy, Hughes’ season is starting to take shape, coming off a win at Wildwood Park five days after a seventh-place finish at Carrollton, Ga., for which he was named the Ga.MileSplit 5A Boys Runner of the Week.
“I’m back where I want to be,” Hughes said.
“It’s hard not to look back and say where would I be now if I hadn’t taken the whole summer off because of that, but I’m not viewing it that way. I’m viewing it that I had a great comeback, I’m better than I could have ever imagined and I’m where I want to be right now.”
And where that is for Hughes, who has been running since he was five, is focusing on the Region 2-AAAAA meet on Saturday, November 2, followed by the state meet meet on Sunday, November 10.
There will be plenty of local competition to face, including Evans’ Justin Weegar and Lakeside’s Christian Bowles, who he has been competing against for years.
“Christian and I have been going at it since sixth grade,” said Hughes.
“We would just go back and forth between who would win that race and it’s gone all the way to here. He always starts the season off better than me, he’s done that every year, but by the end of the season I normally get back on his level. Hopefully I do that again this year because he’s ahead of me.”
Hughes is the Wolfpack’s No. 1 runner, and he showed his promise as an eighth-grader.
“He ran in several JV races including the JV race at region that year,” said Greenbrier head coach Kati Smallwood.
“He won the JV race and so we knew from that and how he was performing with the varsity kids at practices in eighth grade he would be a top runner for us. He’s definitely been in the top-three since ninth grade.”
And since middle school, Hughes has been singularly focused on his future.
“I want to go to West Point and I want to run at West Point, that’s my goal,” Hughes said.
“My No. 1 goal starting out in high school, really middle school, is to go to West Point, run for their cross country and track team – they are DI – and then become an Army officer.”
Influenced by his grandfather and great uncle who were Army officers, Hughes can’t imagine not being in the military.
“I just love everything that it stands for,” he said. “I love the service, I love our country. That’s just the best way to go for me.”