Keegan Hughes (Class of 2017, Bishop Shanahan (PA)) is a rising star. Ever since his Villanova commitment on April 18th, he has been on a tear. Hughes posted a 50.26 time in the 400 meters at the HOKA Warrior Invitational (which was a season record) and a 39.05 in the 300 meter hurdles at the Hoka One One Henderson Invitational as well as a second place finish in the 4x100 meter relay in the same meet and a 3rd place finish at the TFCA of GP Spring Invitational. Hughes is a 3-time state champ and has been named an All-American.
Leader Johnson: You got that drive going, you have recently been on a tear, what is motivating you right now?
Keegan Hughes: I only have a few meets left in my in high school career so I am trying to make the most of them. It is also championship season so I knew I had to start turning up my intensity if I wanted to make an impact at the state level.
Leader Johnson: What is your favorite competition to run in track?
Keegan Hughes: I always enjoy running the 4x400 because I like to chase kids down if my team doesn't give me the stick in first place. The crowd gets excited when I start to catch someone and this gives me that extra energy to run a fast split.
Leader Johnson: Tell us about you where did you grow up? How was it growing up and how are your parents an influence in your life?
Keegan Hughes: I was born in Connecticut but moved to outside Philadelphia when I was young so I only remember living here. I always played two or three sports a season so I was always busy with athletics. I started to focus on track my sophomore year and had to quit my other sports. My parents are a huge influence in my life because they always supported me by coming to all my meets and being there if I ever needed something before a race.
Leader Johnson: What made you want to be a track star?
Keegan Hughes: I originally started track to get faster for other sports but I loved the individual part of track. How well I do is all based on how I perform not my team. Watching the Olympics made me fall in love with the sport and motivated me to be the best runner I could be.
Leader Johnson: Any favorite Olympic athletes?
Keegan Hughes: Obviously Usain Bolt just because of his dominance over three Olympics. But recently Sydney McLaughlin because she is still so young but isn't afraid of anyone even if they are Olympic champions. Her work ethic and commitment to the sport is something that I appreciate.
Leader Johnson: What is your greatest track accomplishment so far and why?
Keegan Hughes: Winning the Team Title at the Indoor State Championship was a big moment for me and my team. We didn't have an indoor team 3 years ago and we worked very hard to figure out how we could win the team title. All of us executed beyond our set goals at States and this lead to us winning the title. This was also our first track State championship in school history.
Leader Johnson: What impressed you about Villanova and why did you pick Villanova?
Keegan Hughes: Thinking about academics was a very important part of choosing my school. Also, talking with Coach Anthony [Williams]. He gave me a lot of confidence that I would fit well with the team and would be a top scorer at Big East's my freshman year. The school is close to home which was nice for me. Also, it is close to Philly which was another factor that interests me. They have also produced 28 Olympians which means they know what they are doing.
Leader Johnson: Any top basketball or football recruits that you competed against in Track?
Keegan Hughes: I've raced against D'Andre Swift in the 200m who's going to Georgia for football and in the 100m, I raced against John Reid who plays football for Penn State
Leader Johnson: How long was Villanova recruiting you?
Keegan Hughes: They were actually the last school to recruit me. When they started recruiting me they were at the bottom of my list and I didn't think much of them besides being a good academic school. But, the more I researched and talked with each school I realized that Villanova was the best fit for me academically and athletically.
Leader Johnson: Are you aiming to compete in the Olympics? What year?
Keegan Hughes: Yes of course, it has always been the end goal. Tokyo 2020 would be during my junior year so if I was ready I would definitely make a shot for the team. If the Olympics are in L.A. in 2024, that would be the ultimate dream if I made the team that year.
Leader Johnson: What is the key to being a good track athlete - how do you prepare?
Keegan Hughes: You really have to commit a lot of your summer and weekends to focusing on track. Listening to your coaches and leaving everything on the track every practice. But a key point a lot of people forget about is after practice, recover. Diet and taking care of your body is a must if you want to be an elite athlete. I watch my races to study what I can do better the next time I run my race. I also watch pros to see how they execute their races. On race day I think of it as another day of practice just with competition. If I over-think my race and get nervous I won't run well that day.
Leader Johnson: What competition are you the most successful at?
Keegan Hughes: I had the most success at 400m last year which I placed at States in. But this year I started running the 300m hurdles and have run some fast times. I have been improving a lot in that race and have a chance to win states in that event. Depending on my training I think the 400m hurdles could be my best event.
Leader Johnson: What is your outlook for your future with Villanova?
Keegan Hughes: I am really excited to start competing in a Villanova uniform and see how I can compete at the collegiate level.
Leader Johnson: Great talking to you, Keegan looking forward to your future with Villanova. Welcome to the ‘Nova Nation.
Keegan Hughes: Thank you very much. Go Cats!
Follow Keegan Hughes on twitter @keeganhughes99
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Here is a video interview with Keegan Hughes from earlier this month at Hoke One Henderson Invitational.
Here are details on his indoor/outdoor times from the past several seasons.