MATTAPOISETT — When Meg Hughes made her track debut this spring, the Old Rochester freshman came with distance credentials.

She was successful in road races that covered five kilometers (3.1 miles).

So what was she doing running a mere 400 meters in the Div. 4 meet?

She was winning and lowering the school record for the distance at almost every meet.

“I never would have pictured myself as a 400 runner,” Hughes said. “I had never tried a shorter distance like that. I raced it (against Case) and I was good at it."

She finished that Case race in 62 seconds, then turned around and won the South Coast Conference 400 championship by more than five seconds at 59.19, while winning the mile in 5:16.77. She broke the school mile record at the All-State Meet, finishing second in 5:13.19.

At the Div. 4 Meet, she ran a school-record 58.22, lowered it to 56.56 in winning the All-State race and breaking that mark with a third-place finish at the New England Championship in 56.55.

Despite her success at those two events, Hughes was ambitious to try others.

“I like the 400 because it's over sooner and it's less of a workout at practice,” she said. “The high jump was fun because it wasn't running and I asked to do the 400 hurdles. I was just jumping over the hurdles and I stutter-stepped a lot. I was dead after it.

“Maybe I'll try the 200 and the 2-mile, but that's so long and painful, like the road races. In track you're always running around in a circle. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it either.”

During cross country season in the fall, Hughes did her running up and down the soccer pitch and led the Bulldogs in scoring. When winter came around and the track team went indoors, Hughes went inside, too, but as part of the varsity basketball team.

In spring, it was finally time to show what she'd teased all those years with those road race victories.

“We were very proud of Meg this season and all she has accomplished as a freshman,” Old Rochester track coach Cindy Tilden said. “She should be proud of herself. She took every race as it came and performed to the best of her abilities. She's had a lot of success this season and, hopefully, will have more to come.”

Meg started running with her mother, Marissa, and two older sisters, Kate and Jennifer. Mom may be the family's most serious runner, having competed in the Boston Marathon twice, but Meg has taken the mantle as the fastest.

“I think my mom knows I like soccer and like playing basketball,” she said. “I like it all. If I were to concentrate on one sport, it would be pretty boring. This way it's entertaining.”