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Junior Luke Maruca was motivated to make his mark in the shot put this spring and did exactly that by recording a personal-best throw during a third-place performance at the Class MM State Championship. (Photo courtesy of Luke Maruca )
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Wherever Luke Maruca goes, there’s a good chance that his twin brother Kyle will be right there with him. The sibling duo does just about everything together at North Haven High School, including playing for the Indians’ football, indoor track, and outdoor track teams. When Kyle suffered an injury that prevented him from finishing his junior year as a thrower, Luke knew that he had to step up in his brother’s absence. Luke stepped up big-time by turning in some stellar performances in the shot put at a couple of marquee meets this spring.
“We’re not only teammates, but he’s my brother. Knowing he wasn’t going to be there, we needed points, so it was time for me to stop messing around and step up. I had to do the best I could for the team,” says Luke. “The motivation definitely increased. With him down, you go from two Marucas to one Maruca, so I had to represent for the both of us.”
Luke made a statement when he took third place in the shot put by launching a personal-best throw of 45 feet-8 inches at the Class MM State Championship. He went to finish 11th in the event with a toss of 45-5.75 at the State Open.
Head Coach Steve Celmer could see the fire in Luke’s eyes when Kyle was sidelined after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
“There might have been times he tried to compete with Kyle, got discouraged, and his focus wasn’t where it needed to be. What was unfortunate for Kyle was good for Luke. You’re the man now, so you have to go out and do it,” Celmer says. “Third at Class MM is great. And they were good throws, too; all personal bests. The biggest thing we saw was real good growth in his approach.”
While Luke had seen success in the throwing events, the 2019 spring season served as his breakout campaign. Luke was pleased that all of his extra effort paid dividends when he stepped into the circle this year.
“We all knew somebody needed to step up, and I wanted it to be me. I just got to work and started to put it all together,” says Luke. “I knew with [Kyle] going down, someone needed to step up for our team, and this was my perfect opportunity.”
Aside from the shot put, Luke also throws the discus and the javelin for the Indians. The shot put is Luke’s favorite, although he likes competing in all the throwing events, and has worked hard to learn the intricacies of each one.
“Shot for me is my favorite, because it’s more about the power. Although there is technique, I feel it’s all about aggression,” Luke says. “Each event has all different footwork. If you’re throwing three events at the meet, you need to focus on three different foot placements. As a freshman it got complicated, but I’ve got that down.”
Luke is also a force in the trenches for the North Haven football team. Last fall, Luke made 40 tackles and recorded three sacks as a defensive lineman, while also creating lanes for the Indians’ running backs from his offensive tackle position.
“I just feel like that’s the best place I can help the team. That’s what I want to do,” says Luke of playing the O-line. “It’s great seeing them run by you and seeing them in the end zone.”
Looking ahead to next year, Luke has already been named a captain for the outdoor track squad. Luke says that he’s looking to serve as an exemplary leader for all three of his teams during his senior year at North Haven.
“One of the biggest goals is leadership. I want underclassmen to look at me as someone to look up to and learn from in all three sports,” Luke says. “I have a few personal goals for track, distance-wise. And for football, I want to play every game to my fullest ability. I want to play every down like it’s my last.”
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