Sports Person of the Week
Rueckert Running Her Way to Success at Old Saybrook
Sophomore Avery Rueckert has quickly become an integral member of the Old Saybrook girls’ track program, helping the Rams win a Shoreline South title during the recent winter campaign. (Photo courtesy of Avery Rueckert )
Avery Rueckert is only a sophomore at Old Saybrook High School, but she’s already making a significant impact as a member of the girls’ track program. Avery competes in a variety of events for the Rams and is seeing plenty of success across the board.
Avery’s events range anywhere from the 100-meter dash to the 600-meter run. Her best individual events are the 200, the 300, and the 600, but Avery also excels as a member of Old Saybrook’s 4x400 relay.
Whether she’s running relays or flying solo, Avery loves contributing to the greater good of the Rams as a whole.
“My favorite aspect of running track is that you are not only running for yourself, but for your team,” says Avery. “Yes, you train individually and your times are specific to you, but at the end of the day, everyone comes together to congratulate you, and you form amazing relationships with so many different people.”
Avery didn’t have to wait long to claim some postseason gold with Old Saybrook. During her freshman season, Avery and her 4x400 relay team of Grace Hanratty, Anna Brodeur, and Emily Stratton finished first at the Shoreline Conference Indoor Track Championship, helping the Rams take first place as a squad. Avery ran the final leg of the relay and wound up overtaking the leader to secure the victory for her quartet.
“I was the last leg of the race, and my teammates had given us a great start, but we were slowly getting behind. It was handed to me, and I kept my pace steady for the first lap,” Avery says. “On the second lap around, I made my way past two people and, in the last 100 meters, I was able to pass the girl ahead of me to win the title. I remember the feeling that was flowing through me and how my legs moved faster and faster without me even having to think about it.”
Head Coach Pete Capezzone was impressed with Avery’s performance and says that she’s been a hard worker from the moment she joined the program. Capezzone praises Avery for having an unselfish attitude and a willingness to give it her all for her squad. These attributes were on display when Old Saybrook competed at the Shoreline Conference South Championship during the 2021 winter season.
“She trains extremely hard under the tutelage of mid-distance coach Jan Merrill-Morin. Avery has a great deal of speed and has really begun to incorporate her newfound endurance with that speed to make her a more dynamic runner,” says Capezzone. “When it was announced that we would have a Shoreline South Championship, at the last minute we had to change the slate of events for Avery to include both the 600 and the 300, as well as the 4x200 relay. Avery unselfishly accepted her role and won the 600, placed second in the 300, and second in the 4x200, helping her team to the championship. She is a pleasure to coach, and I believe the best is yet to come for Avery.”
Avery feels that she’s unlocking her potential on the track as a result of working with Coach Capezzone. Avery credits Capezzone for helping her become the best version of herself as a runner.
“The relationship I have with my head coach—we call him Cap—is like no other I’ve had before,” says Avery. “He congratulates me, consistently boosting my confidence, but still pushes me to be the best I can be.”
Avery adds that one of her favorite aspects of being coached by Capezzone is that “you never know what’s coming.” Avery was surprised when Capezzone told her that she would be running the 600 at the Shoreline South meet, but she rose to the occasion and delivered a victory.
“He threw me in the 600 for Shoreline Championships a day before the meet. Of course, I was scared, but he did nothing but encourage me,” Avery says. “Cap allows me to discover things I never thought I could do, all while being one of the most caring and motivating people I know.”
Avery and her teammates are looking forward to competing on the outdoor track circuit this spring. Avery wants to keep lowering her times in all of her events and also has her sights set on making Old Saybrook history in the 300.
“I expect to see my times improve,” says Avery. “I expect to break the school record for the 300 meter, and I hope to continue to win and make my way to being a state champion.”