Prince of Peace's Hansi Hudson is shown here during the Healy/Mattis Relays on March 28 in Goose Lake. 

The Irish are made up of just two men this season, and the leader is senior Hansi Hudson.

Hudson, a cross country runner and basketball player at Prince of Peace, just truly loves the sport. That’s why he’s out even if he doesn’t necessarily have a traditional team to be a part of.

“I’ve run cross country my whole life,” Hudson said. “It’s something to keep me in shape and I just enjoy running, on a track or on a course.”

He runs the 3200-meter run as his specialty, using his cross country background to his advantage. It’s nice to go from the hilly cross country courses to a flat track to run the event.

“The two-mile definitely is my favorite,” Hudson said. “It’s a mix between cross country and track. I can really just go at it.”

That’s his focus. Hudson was close to state last season and even closer during the cross country season but has yet to make the trip in either. That’s his end goal and what he’s working towards. It’s looking promising already, especially in the two-mile.

“Especially with the distance, he really at the end of last year noticed he could have a shot,” head coach Owen Howard said. “He really works on the two-mile and throws the other events in there. He’s really dedicated in the distance.”

Those other events include things like the 1600-meter run, 800-meter run and 400-meter dash. He regularly places in the top five in all the events.

“Right now, he needs to improve on which one he wants to but he looks pretty good so far,” Howard said.

“It is definitely a challenge. He doesn’t have anyone to run against except the girls’ team with teammate J.R. Wauford nursing some injuries for the first part of the season. Wauford is also a sprinter.

Hudson really has to put in work other than just physically.

“It’s a lot of mental work,” Hudson said. “You can’t think about having anyone ahead of you, just on yourself. It’s just a single sport in this case.”

He does work out with the girls, though. Coach Howard often has the girls run something like a 4x400-meter relay and Hudson paces a mile off of that, running against fresh legs.

“The girls do push me a lot,” Hudson said. “I’ll run against their other events and try to push myself through that. The credit goes out to them, too, because they keep me in shape.”

Plus, Howard helps. Howard also is the Irish’s cross country coach and serves as an assistant for the basketball team.

“He’s been good motivation,” Hudson said. “He can keep me going even when I don’t want to.”

You can tell how hard Hudson works when you watch any one of his races. He loves the sport and is looking to continue it in college. He’s heading to his father’s alma mater, Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where he plans on continuing his passion for running.

He has a trip to state in late May on his mind first, though.

“I’m trying to get to state in just one of my events, it doesn’t matter which one,” Hudson said. “Then I want to work on my times and hopefully get ready for college.”