It wasn't until a coach asked Ivana Hughes about her future that she considered trying to run track in college.
The Evans High School graduate knew she wanted to be a lawyer. She is a fan of whodunit shows such as CSI , NCIS and Law and Order .
Hughes chose criminal law as the topic of her senior project and knew after her first time in a courtroom which direction she wanted to head.
"Some people just have that experience when they know this is what they want to do," Hughes said. "Law is something I like."
Hughes signed a scholarship Wednesday to run track at Gardner-Webb University, after recognizing running would provide a means to pay for her education.
College coaches started to express interest after Hughes ran at the Class AAAA state meet this spring. She ran a personal best of 2:19 in the 800 meter and college coaches started contacting Evans track coaches Eric Watson and Ryan Bennett.
Watson and Bennett heard from Troy University, Jacksonville State and Louisiana State.
Gardner-Webb coaches approached Watson in the parking lot after Hughes ran in the Class AAAA preliminaries and told him they wanted Hughes on the team.
It was difficult for the Evans coaches initially. They weren't sure Hughes wanted to run in college and were relaying that to inquiring coaches, who couldn't understand why after watching Hughes run.
"I think the biggest surprise was that someone with her talent hadn't already made that decision," Watson said.
Hughes' primary event in college will be the 800 meters. She finished third in the 800 at state as a senior and won the event at the Region 3-AAAA meet.
Hughes said Bulldogs track coach Brian Baker told her she would run the 800, and that any other events she participated in would only serve to prepare her for her best event. Hughes will also train with the cross country team in the fall in preparation for the spring season.
Hughes was concerned that college track would interfere with classes and study time during the week, but was told by coaches that practice time would be worked around her class schedule and meets held on the weekends.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.