Dustin Hughes is by all accounts a hard worker and very active at Franklin County High School.
But it was that hard work and dedication which likely led to the senior cross country runner coming down with mononucleosis at the start of the fall season.
"He just wore himself down," FCHS cross country coach Kelly McDaniel said. "He does so much and I think that was it. He's into everything and he's always going to give 100 percent no matter what."
Hughes, who was ranked among the state's top runners in Class AA at the start of the season, missed well over a month of meets trying to recover. And that's not something that's going to sit well with someone who is as competitive as Hughes and someone who was poised to lead a young Flyer team this fall.
"It really stunk at first," Hughes said of his diagnosis. "The first week was really hard. My times aren't where they should be now, but really, I can't complain because I've been able to come back and compete lately."
Hughes probably isn't going to win the state meet Saturday at the Horse Park. He may not even finish first for the Flyers. But regardless, there's no one questioning just how important he has been to the program.
"Our guys look up to him no matter what," McDaniel said. "We need him in the top five no matter where he comes in because he's the leader of this team. When he wasn't running, he was always doing what he could whether he was encouraging the others along or trying to come back slowly.
"It's really a shame he got sick his senior season but he's handled missing the meets better than most other people would," McDaniel added. "He's really a great guy."
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.