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Hudson’s fast start gives Texas Tech track hope

Posted: January 20, 2017 - 10:17pm

Unlike some teenage college athletes, Andrew Hudson knows the career path he wants long-term. When he’s no longer special in track and field, Hudson wants to breed and raise horses.

Texas Tech’s animal science program is a big reason Hudson chose Tech over some of the nation’s other top track teams.

“That was the first thing, before I started running track, was riding horses and doing rodeos and things like that, and just having horses,” said Hudson, a sophomore sprinter from Cibolo Steele. “That’s what I like to do, and I found that here. They took me out to the ranch and the equine center we have here. I think that’s what really got me here.”

Top track programs such as LSU, Florida, Texas, Houston, TCU and Texas A&M recruited Hudson.

Tech coach Wes Kittley, in fact, said the key to signing Hudson was Tech’s offering a major Hudson liked that the University of Texas didn’t have.

“I always loved animals when I was a kid,” Hudson said. “I just found my love in horses. That’s what I really wanted to do and they had it here, so no other place to come but here.”

At the moment, the Red Raiders are ready to see Hudson run. The 6-foot, 150-pound sophomore was named the Big 12 track and field athlete of the week after winning the 60 meters and the 200 meters at last Friday’s Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His times of 6.68 and 20.80 are ranked tied for seventh and first in NCAA Division I going into this weekend.

Tech will take part in the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday at College Station.

Hudson’s showing in last week’s opener was encouraging, considering he didn’t live up to expectations his freshman year.

“We were hoping for better things, to be honest with you,” Kittley said, “but he was just really not very strong. So when we tried to do technical things, he wasn’t able to hold himself up like he should’ve, and he’d been injured his senior year. So it was a little disappointing year for him and for us, too.

“We decided, ‘Hey, we’ve got to work to get stronger.’ And he did. His squats and cleans are way better, and I think that’s what you’re seeing. And he’s listened to coach Rob (Calvin Robinson), t00.”

Hudson, after his junior year at Steele and when Tech signed him November 2014, was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 200 and No. 3 in the 100 among prep athletes. He qualified for the UIL state meet in three events his senior year.

“I knew I was pretty fast coming out of high school,” he said, “and I didn’t show any of that freshman year (at Tech). I’m trying to have a little fire in myself getting ready to go this year.”

Hudson said healing and rehab have been key after he was bothered by an assortment of ankle and leg injuries last season. Meanwhile, he said he’s improved his squat lift by 100 pounds to 475.

“I’m so impressed with him,” Kittley said. “He really had a great fall. I keep coming back to training, but he’s gotten much stronger in the weight room, and that’s what you’re seeing right out of the gate.”

Hudson said his time and attention right now is on track, though he’s still learning about his first love. Roping and working cutting horses are among his favorite things.

“I still have my animal science classes,” he said. “I still get to the equine center here and there for classes, so I still get to participate in both things.”

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