King/Drew senior running back Janiya Hughes is the team captain for the Golden Eagles girls flag football team. Being a captain, she learned the importance of leading by example.
“If we’re losing, I have to be the one to tell everybody ‘we’re losing but at the end of the day, we still gotta have fun and we got to keep everything chill and just play with our heart,’” Hughes said.
During her fifth-grade year, Hughes competed in the ICEF rugby program as a winger. She noticed how that position is similar to the wide receiver and running back positions.
“I have the ball more like handed to me, that’s why I transitioned over to running back because I don’t have to catch,” Hughes said. “Running back has my heart because it’s closest to playing wing in rugby.”
At the end of the flag football season, Hughes won the MVP award for her team. She noted how she did not expect to receive the honor.
“It’s a very, very good thing to see that my coach actually sees what I’m doing,” Hughes said. “I’m trying to help out.”
A proud moment for Hughes was a time when she scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with the same play. She was surprised when her opponents did not suspect the Golden Eagles to run the same play two consecutive times.
“I was really geeked out about it because it was like reading the field,” Hughes said. “Being able to read the field and be like ‘they’re not going to see it again’ and doing it and it still worked geeked me out, that was a good thing.”
For Hughes, being a student athlete means that the same level of effort that’s put into sports must be put into academic work.
“You out on the field doing everything that you do but you go to school and you’re joking off and it’s not going to balance out,” she said. “You got to give both of them your all.”
Time management helps Hughes balance her academics with athletics.
“Procrastination is gonna be the silent killer of everything,” she said. “You have to really be on everything that you do.”
Hughes’ favorite class is English with her favorite book being “On The Come Up” by Angie Thomas.
“She tackles the book from different perspectives,” Hughes said. “It’s a good read.”