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The strength and the length to succeed

ConVal’s Hughes looks to add two more titles to impressive resume

  • The Conant track team hosted ConVal and WLC as part of the annual Monadnock Invitational on Saturday, May 18, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant track team hosted ConVal and WLC as part of the annual Monadnock Invitational on Saturday, May 18, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

If you took one look at ConVal senior Tom Hughes, it’d be hard to miss why he is so successful.

The defending Division II champion in the discus is not only a machine in the weight room, but just watch him practice and the pieces of the puzzle will come together. Every throw, spin and subtle movement is geared toward improving in one way or another.

“There’s nothing that isn’t strong on him,” said ConVal throwing coach Jim Aborn. “But Tommy has one thing that I wish everybody had and that’s heart.”

And while Hughes is ranked No. 1 in the discus entering Saturday’s Division II Championships at Pelham High School, he isn’t just going for one title this weekend. No, Hughes has his sights set on two.

That’s because Hughes is also the top rated D-II athlete in the shot put as well. He won the D-II indoor championship in the event in February and is looking to add the outdoor crown to his resume as well. And if everything goes to plan, Hughes should have little problem throwing for distances long enough to achieve the double win.

“I just work toward a goal to be better,” said Hughes. “I always just want to keep getting better.”

Getting to this point has really been four years in the making. Hughes began working with Aborn as a freshman, but really got into the two throwing events as a sophomore.

“When he started throwing as a freshman, you could tell he was going to be something special,” said Aborn.

His early throws only went about 100 feet in the discus and 35 feet for the shot put. And while those are good distances for a lot of athletes around the state, they fail in comparison to what Hughes is able to do now.

“If all goes well, he should make his mark at New Englands,” said Aborn. “If he puts his mind to it, he’ll get it done.”

Hughes reached 52 feet, five inches in the shot put on April 9 at Milford — just the second meet of the spring — and achieved his season best discus toss of 137 feet, seven inches last Saturday in the regular season finale at Conant.

Hughes owns the indoor shot put record, breaking it four times before finally settling on 49 feet, three inches in the final throw of his indoor career at New Englands. He is also just three feet shy of the all-time ConVal discus mark.

Aborn said that all his work with Hughes was geared toward this season. While it may look easy to throw a discus or shot put, there is a lot that goes into it. When Hughes first began throwing, he used the shuffle technique. But it only allows for so much power and that is when most make the switch to a spin.

While the transition to the spin eventually leads to longer and more powerful throws, at first it can be frustrating because you have to train your body to react in a different way. It can take a while for all the steps to fall into place.

“In the end, it comes down to technique and not just strength,” said Hughes. “With the spin, there’s so much more to it.”

This winter is when Hughes said it all came together. While discus is not part of indoor track, the spins for the two events are very similar. And judging by his results this spring, it looks like Hughes is ready for big things over the next three weekends.

While winning both events Saturday is part of the plan, Hughes isn’t limiting his goals to just that. He simply wants to strive to be the best thrower he can be.

“My goal is to PR and throw my best,” said Hughes. “I just have to be mentally prepared. You always want to throw the best you’ve ever thrown.”

And in no way does he expect his senior season to end this weekend. There is still plenty of work to be done at Meet of Champions and New Englands.

But much like one of his throws, Hughes must take the first step to put it all together.

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