Jul 28, 2014

Student Athlete Spotlight: Ryan Hackett

Meet Ryan Hackett, Branford High's cross country captain who is not only a dedicated runner, but also active in community service

Student Athlete Spotlight: Ryan Hackett

Name: Ryan Hackett
Sport: Cross Country
Nominated by: His coaches
Reason for nomination: As a senior captain, Ryan has led the team to its second consecutive Oronoque Division title and helped organize the Run for the Ribbons Road Race earlier this month which raised money for breast cancer research.

Want to nominate someone to be featured? E-mail the above information to Bing Miller at millerbhs@gmail.com.

Branford High School senior Ryan Hackett is one of the co-captains for the boys cross country team which just recently won it's sixth SCC Oronoque Division title in seven years. Hackett has run for the Hornets since his freshman year. In addition to cross country, he is actively involved in several extra scholastic and community service organizations. As part of his senior capstone project, Hackett helped organize the Run for the Ribbons road race, which raised about $5,200 for the Susan G. Komen Cure for Connecticut for Breast Cancer. The race was held Oct. 2.

Get to know Ryan:

Branford Patch: Talk about your experience helping to organize the Run for the Ribbons race.
Ryan Hackett: Overall, organizing the race was a once in a life time event and something I will always remember the rest of my life. As the first male coordinator for its 8th year, I wanted to make an impact and show I can surpass any prior achievements and challenges that came with the responsibility. My duties began in early July when I met with the race director for the first time. I was mostly responsible for raising awareness for my race and collecting sponsorships and donations. From visiting at the town of Guilford line to up towards the East Haven line, I visited almost every business in between. People were often willing right away; some took a little “push” and others were a simple “we are not in the right financial state right now”. This carried on much into September where we created the sponsorship template and had a record 38 sponsors. This was comforting and led for great success into race day on October 2.

Branford Patch: How has the cross country team performed this year?
Ryan Hackett: The cross country team has performed greater than I could have ever expected. Honestly, I thought this year would be a rebuilding year because we lost some good runners last year. However, I think this is the strongest team we have ever had in my four years simply because of the depth and bright future they all have. Our varsity team is made up of freshman, sophomores and juniors who clearly have the passion to run and win. We lost to two very good ranked teams in Guilford and Cheshire, but not by much. Next year though, we will be that great ranked team that will win over the usual powerhouses. A real positive thought as I leave the team behind.

Branford Patch: How long have you been running and why did you get involved with cross country?
Ryan Hackett: I have been running since my 8th grade year in the middle school. I ran all over the summer coming into high school, and haven’t stopped yet. People look bugged eyed at me when I say I just ran six miles casually, but I am proud I am able to do this and with such love. I got involved in cross country because I wanted to extend my passion for running and be a part of a high school team. The atmosphere on the team has always been known to be great, and that will attract anyone who is willing to put in the time for a sport.

Branford Patch: What have you taken away from your experience as a captain of the cross country team?
Ryan Hackett: Overall, I have taken away a strong sense of leadership from being captain of the team (along with fellow senior Austin Connell). I have always been known as a leader amongst my peers, and for the first time, being captain gave me a title to one of my strongest attributes. One of the most important lessons from being captain that I have learned, is that to be a leader, you do not always have to be the best at whatever you are chosen to do. I will be the first to admit I am not the best runner on the team, and do not even run varsity. But, I will certainly be the best captain. My role was not to lead the pack in every practice or meet but to lead the kids who were behind me or lost and need a few tips. My role was to guide the newcomers and make their first year on the team as enjoyable as it was for me. My role was to be standing on the side of the course, yelling and giving tips to my runners as they tried to conquer a massive hill or pass the other kid at the finish line. That was my role. Not a great runner but certainly a great leader. 

Branford Patch: What are your plans for the future?
Ryan Hackett: Following High School, I plan on attending college and I am still currently on my college search. Many of my top choices consist of Syracuse University, Villanova University, American University or University of Maryland. I plan on studying political science or public affairs/policy. Following my success in college, I hope to attend a law school and earn my law degree. 

Want to nominate someone to be featured? E-mail the above information to Bing Miller at millerbhs@gmail.com.

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