PITTSFIELD — First there was Meghan Hughes, who came along and set the standard for Maine Central Institute track and field teams girls throwers. Meghan placed second in both the shot put and discus as an MCI senior in 2011 state championships, setting school records in each event.

Next came Katie Hughes, who raised the bar, breaking her sister’s school records while placing second in the shot put and third in the discus at the state meet in 2015, her senior season. Now a junior at Bates College, Katie placed second in the hammer throw, and sixth in the shot put at the New England Small College Athletic Conference meet Saturday.

“I had the records, and she ended up beating both of them when she came. It was kind of bittersweet, but I was glad she could do it and not somebody else, so she could keep it in the family,” Meghan, now the throwing coach at Erskine Academy, said. “I kind of knew that’s where Katie and I were both going, but I didn’t know what Allison was going to be doing in terms of events.”

Now there is Allison Hughes, an MCI senior who throws for the Huskies. Not exactly like her sisters. When Allison refers to her big sisters, it’s not just age. Meghan and Katie are each around 5-foot-8, with their father, Greg’s broad shoulders. Allison is 5-2, more like their mother, Nancy.

“They have more of my dad’s athletic ability. He was a thrower in track. I would say I have more of my mom’s athletic ability, and she was a runner. I’ve definitely thrown all my life, because that’s what we did when we were younger,” Allison said. She had just arrived at MCI’s Husky Throwdown, the annual throwing meet hosted by the school, and would soon compete in the discus.

Meghan and Katie started competing in a summer track and field program at the same time. They gravitated to the throwing events, where they immediately showed promise. When Allison took up track and field a few years later, she also threw. She was a Hughes sister. That’s what they did. When she topped out at her current height, six inches shorter than her sisters, Allison knew she wouldn’t have the brute strength to match her sisters’ accomplishments.

“My goal is always do the best that I can, and not try to beat their records. Beat my own personal records. Every meet, try and throw a little bit farther. I just know it’s not realistic to get to where they were,” Allison said.

Don’t let Allison fool you. Her size isn’t a crutch, it’s a weapon. Typically one of the smaller athletes in the throwing events, she knows her form has to be close to perfect. What Allison lacks in size compared to her opponents, she often makes up by being technically sound. That’s a lesson from her father, who always told Allison that attention to detail will beat size. Last spring, Allison threw a personal best 31 feet to place fourth in shot put at the Class C state championship.

“Because I’ve been smaller, he’s always wanted me to focus on the technical part of it. I have lifted (weights) for four years, but it’s just hard when you’re as small as I am to throw against those girls,” Allison said. “It’s intimidating. I’m sure people watch a group of girls throwing and it’s like, ‘Look at that little girl. What is she doing in there?'”

Meghan watches Allison compete against bigger, stronger athletes, and is impressed with the success her sister has.

“She’s a pretty strong kid for how she’s built,” Meghan said.

Allison said her mother was always a little sad that none of her daughters followed her footsteps as a runner. It appears this spring, Nancy Hughes will finally see that happen. Allison plans to try the sprint distance events, the 200 and 400 meters, as well as running on the Huskies 4×400 relay team. She’ll continue to throw, but Allison figures she’s smaller for a reason.

“Allison’s more of a runner, which I think is a better area for her,” Meghan said.

Meghan tried to be a mentor to her sisters. She used to offer them coaching advice, but siblings being siblings, that didn’t last long.

“They wouldn’t listen to me. I learned after a year of trying to help, it was just better for me to not say anything. I give the information to my parents and they do a better job relaying it,” Meghan said.

As Allison waited to throw the discus, she chatted with Meghan. As Allison walked away, Meghan yelled to her youngest sister.

“Hey!” Meghan said, clapping twice. Allison turned around, and Meghan gave her two thumbs up.

Walking past the waiting throwers, most bigger and stronger than she, Allison stepped into the ring. She threw.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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