When it comes to following a legend, a person can utilize two basic strategies.

She can embrace it and use the experience as an inspiration for the future.

Or she can remove all traces of it and set her sights solely on the present.

Hudson second-year head field hockey coach Louise Knox prefers the former over the latter. The Explorers’ 2018 season was full of eminence, thrills and jubilation.

It also featured many valuable life lessons that will surely leave a lasting impact for many years to come.

As for the present, those life lessons will be critical if Hudson wants to launch a blockbuster sequel to top last year’s box-office colossus.

"We learned from it," Knox said. "We’re always growing. We’re seeking the best out of the collective group. That becomes motivation."

The Explorers’ "motivation" will lead to sublime ambitions. That’s because Hudson nearly reached the top of field hockey’s version of the Eiffel Tower when the leaves last changed colors.

The Explorers advanced to the state final for the second time in four years. That euphoric journey included a thrilling 2-1 victory over defending three-time champion Thomas Worthington in a state semifinal match.

Hudson’s swan song, on the other hand, turned out to be one of those rare occasions where someone else was appointed the honor of grand duchess.

That distinction went to Gahanna Columbus Academy, which defeated the Explorers 3-0 to capture its unprecedented 11th state title.

As always, Hudson will likely have a say on whether this year’s most elegant trophy will return to northeast Franklin County. A blue-collar master plan will be the blueprint for the Explorers’ comprehensive agenda.

"Last year taught us how important relationships are," Knox said. "It taught us the importance of hard work and the fundamentals of the game.

"The future is part of the picture, but not the focus. We look to improve each practice and each game. The future will come if we take care of today."

Each day will present a vast array of humdrum challenges. It will include much repetition and grunt work.

Such is life for those who have the monumental task of replacing a legend.

That’s just fine with Knox, though. She knows the lengthy, unforgiving process will most likely lead to a sensational product.

Or, as author Harriet Jackson Brown Jr. once quipped: "The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today."

"We just want to be the strongest team in the last game of the season," Knox said. "We want to walk off the field knowing we did our best, no matter what the outcome is."

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.