Lukashchuk overcomes all hurdles at Ryan

Andrew Lukashchuk qualified for four events at states. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Andrew Lukashchuk didn’t have a lifetime to work on his running technique.

Turns out he didn’t need it.

Lukashchuk is a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School, and growing up he was a soccer player, a sport he played all four years at the school.

But when he was a sophomore, over lunch he decided to give another sport a try.

“At the end of my sophomore year, I started running track,” Lukashchuk said. “Last year was my first real year. Honestly, the reason I started it was because at my lunch table, three of the other guys did it, so I figured why not give it a try? I liked it right away, but I didn’t get the full experience until my junior year. I just did some meets.

“I didn’t go to any practices, I joined too late. There were only two meets left, so I really didn’t have a chance to get better. I was fast in soccer, but in track? I was slow, really slow. I wasn’t bad for someone who never ran before, but for someone who runs track, I needed a lot of work.”

It’s safe to say he put in that work because Lukashchuk’s season was one for the record books.

The Bustleton resident qualified for states in four events: the 110-meter high hurdles, the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay.

“It feels really good to make it because I really worked hard to get here the past year,” Lukashchuk said. “Really, during the whole quarantine, I was working. After everything got shut down, I took a little time off, then went back as hard as I could. I really put in a lot of work. That’s when I got better. I used what I learned and worked on it.

“I was in the weight room a lot. I worked on getting stronger. I feel so much different now when I run than before. I feel lighter. I feel faster when I’m moving. I feel so much better just running. It’s a big difference.”

It shows in his times, too, which led to more success.

Last year he wasn’t All-Catholic. This year he was All-Catholic in four events.

The relay teams consisted of (4×100) Brendon Huebner, Lukashchuk, Brad Cantoral and Quadir Rayfield, which broke the school record this year, and (4×400) Lukashchuk, Deven Salvatore, Andrei Frigura and Cantoral.

Lukashchuk surprised a lot of people by making states for four events, but it was something he expected.

As a rookie, he didn’t make All-Catholic, but he did finish seventh in the league during the indoor season. Since there was no outdoor season, he watched as his times continued to drop as he put in the work.

“I thought finishing seventh was a good start,” Lukashchuk said. “So when I started running, working out, for my senior year, I knew I had a good starting point and I just had to put in the work to get better. I was running a lot.

“I think soccer helped a lot, too. In grade school, I was always fast, I loved to race people and show off my speed, but running track is so different. It’s hard to explain, but once you know what you’re doing, you can improve a lot.”

It was a great year for Lukashchuk in all of his sports.

He used the indoor season to prepare for his successful outdoor season, and in the fall, he was on a soccer team that advanced to the state quarterfinals after going undefeated in its Catholic League schedule.

“Growing up, soccer was my favorite sport, but now it’s definitely track,” Lukashchuk said. “I always had fun playing soccer and we had a great year this year. I didn’t get a lot of minutes, but I did score two goals this year.

“Soccer is definitely a reason I was fast. You stay in shape when you play soccer. It’s a lot of running.”

Lukashchuk’s soccer career is almost certainly over, but he hopes his track career continues past high school.

Next year, he plans on walking on the the University of Pennsylvania’s team. He’s going there to study engineering and he hopes to juggle both the tough course load with track.

“I’m going to try to walk on, I know it will be tough, but I think I can be even better next year than I was this year.” said Lukashchuk, who is ranked sixth in his senior class at Ryan. “Right now, I’m looking at doing chemical engineering. It’s interesting to me, it’s something I think I’ll be good at, and find a great career in, and there’s a lot of potential and openings for things you can do.

“This year was tough at times. Math was a challenge, sometimes I didn’t get a lot of sleep, but it was definitely worth it at the end of the day. I put in a lot of hard work, but it was great and I’m done with it now. I’m happy I did it.

“Things worked out great. Going to Ryan was a great decision. I really liked everything about it and track was great. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”