Sports Person of the Week
Hanratty Having Best Year Yet
Senior Luke Hanratty has continually trimmed his times as a member of the Old Saybrook boys’ track program. Luke also helped the Rams claim state championships on the soccer pitch in each of the past two seasons. (Photo courtesy of Luke Hanratty )
Luke Hanratty is one of the most decorated student-athletes that you can find at Old Saybrook High School. Luke is a senior star for the Rams’ boys’ track program who competes in events ranging all the way from the 200-meter dash to the 1,600-meter run. He was also a starting center back for an Old Saybrook boys’ soccer squad that won back-to-back Class S state title in his junior and senior seasons.
Luke started running cross country in middle school before joining Old Saybrook track as a freshman. Luke grew from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet tall between his freshman and sophomore years, and that’s when he started to see drastic improvements in his times.
“Growing definitely helped me. I’m able to take longer strides now, and I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” says Luke. “I’ve also gained a lot of confidence in my abilities, so I go out there and run my race every time.”
To put Luke’s progression into perspective, he’s improved his time in the 1,600 from a 5:41.89 in his freshman season to a 4:47 as a senior. He’s also trimmed his top mark in the 600 from a 1:32.30 to his current personal record of 1:26.37. In the 1,000, Luke has dropped his time by almost 14 seconds to a 2:38.05.
“It just boils down to hard work and putting in those extra hours,” Luke says. “I love this sport so much, and a big reason why is because of my twin sister Grace, who is also a runner. We have a bit of a friendly rivalry, but we always encourage each other to do our best.”
Luke and Grace have both earned All-State First Team and All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors during their time at Old Saybrook. Grace has taken first place in the 1,000 at the Class S Indoor State Championship the past two seasons and also won the event at the New England Championship last year.
“She’s earned all the recognition she’s gotten,” says Luke of his sister. “I’m proud to be her brother, and I’m glad that we are both excelling in what we love.”
Old Saybrook track coach Pete Capezzone has high praise for Luke. Capezzone says that Luke’s work ethic is among the best of all the athletes that he’s coached in his 28 years at the school.
“Luke’s got great character. He’s very motivated, and he motivates others around him,” says Capezzone. “Luke works his tail off, and he’s gotten better every year. He always sees the upside in things. He doesn’t get dragged down about obstacles that come in his way.”
Capezzone adds that Luke exemplified his positive attitude with the way he handled missing the recent Class S State Championship meet due to an illness.
“Luke was sick and was unable to run for his events, which was unfortunate, but he never got down about it,” Capezzone says. “He came back on Monday and he was the same old Luke. He made the best out of a negative situation.”
Fortunately for Luke, he came back to compete for Old Saybrook’s 1,600 sprint medley relay team at the State Open Championship last week. Luke was an alternate when the relay took second at the Class S meet. At the Open, Luke joined forces with fellow seniors Jack Colella, Nick Salemi, and Cooper Luciani to record a time of 3:44.54 and finish in sixth place at the Open. Luke was also part of the Rams’ first-place 4x800 relay at the Shoreline Conference Championship earlier in the year.
“It was very tough, because I had been working really hard this season,” Luke says of missing the Class S meet. “However, I’ve still got the outdoor season to look forward to.”
Luke is going to continue his career on the track after he graduates from Old Saybrook. Later this year, Luke will attend Boston University and compete for its track and field team as a mid-distance runner.
“I’ll be running anywhere from the 400 to the 1,600 at Boston, and I’m really excited about the opportunity,” says Luke. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my coaches. They’ve all worked really hard to put me in a good position, and I’m really excited for what the future holds for me.”