Freshman Focus on Pranay Prasanna- Steinbrenner Warriors
Pranay Prasanna- Remember that name. He might be the next Elon Musk, top pairing defenseman on your favorite NHL team, or even your family doctor. Let’s just say he hasn’t closed any doors yet. The Steinbrenner Warriors found themselves some luck this year by selecting Prasanna as a pool player attending Middleton High School’s Biomedical Sciences magnet program. During the week Prasanna balances being a top 4 in the district Mu Alpha Theta (Algebra 2) competitor, being on the design team for a number one in the state FTC competitive robotics team, attending four practices for the LHSHL Freshman/Sophomore Elite Development Program, preparing for his black belt in Karate, and dressing in gold for the Steinbrenner Warriors Varsity Hockey team every Friday Night. Did I mention that he actively chose to attend a high school geared towards pushing students to a career in STEM fields through college-level classes and labs? Because why would you opt for taking normal classes like Chemistry and Physics when you can take Microbiology and Genetics instead? He’s not busy or anything.
We get it. Pranay Prasanna is a workhorse. But five minutes into our interview I still didn’t understand who he was as a person, so we took to some Quick-Release Questions to figure it all out.
Me: Hedman or Karlsson?
Me: You have to choose your dream car- Bugatti or Aston Martin?
Me: You’re going on a vacation; would you rather take a flight to your destination or make a road trip out of it?
Pranay: Take a flight
Me: Would you rather write an essay or take a math test
Pranay: I’m a big math guy
Me: Adidas or Nike?
Pranay: Checks over stripes. Well, I guess the league outfits us in Adidas, so I guess I have to say Adidas now
Me: Buy lunch from school or pack a lunch?
Pranay: Buy lunch
Me: You get to meet any celebrity you want, who do you want to meet?
Pranay: I’d say Kris Letang. He’s such a good defenseman and he plays for my favorite team, plus I’ve already met Crosby.
Me: You mess up a drill, what coach is most likely to make you skate a lap?
Pranay: Nikita Alekseev from EDP
Me: Would you rather score the game-winning goal or make a tape to tape pass to set up the game-winning goal
Pranay: I’m a team player so I’d rather make the pass.
We moved into talking on Pranay’s experiences playing in the Lightning High School Hockey League. I asked him what it was like playing for a brand-new team and how he adjusted to being the new guy in a locker room where most players go to the same school. He never let himself be the odd man out, “I don’t go to Steinbrenner, so it was really weird, but after a couple of practices I got to know them so we’re just a team.” That “just a team” hasn’t fallen from a number one seed all season long and finding the chemistry Pranay hinted at early on seems to be a recipe for success.
Pranay also plays for the Freshman/Sophomore Elite Development Program Team. “I enjoy the exposure it offers, as well as going up North to see the different colleges and how the game is played up there. The practices are special, and the drills are uniquely designed to improve our skills.” The Steinbrenner defenseman specifically expressed his favor for the Tuesday and Thursday practices run by Tampa Bay Lightning Alumni and NHL point leader Nikita Kucherov’s personal coach Dmitry Afanasenkov that focus on shooting, passing, and skating, “I like the short player to coach ratio
and the emphasis on improving my ability to pass and score goals” A typical practice is composed of power skating and intensive edge work, one on one coach passing and shooting, the technical study on shot release, and recreating game situations to focus on awareness. Pranay has been at almost every single one- Once again, workhorse.
We shifted the focus from EDP towards the Lightning High School Hockey League in its general form. I wanted to know his take on varsity hockey and how he wants to see it change as he continues playing. “I love how it is right now. I’ve never played with that much of an audience and it’s fun because you get to play against all kinds of levels. I didn’t know anybody on Steinbrenner when I started but I knew a lot of players on other teams so it’s fun to try to beat them.” Prasanna wears number 6 in Varsity but to him, it’s just a number on the back of a jersey he wears to represent his team, “The number doesn’t really have a meaning for me. I’m not a big superstition guy outside of always putting my left skate on before my right skate.”
As for the future, Pranay can see himself playing hockey or entering the medical field. “I chose to go to a magnet high school to prepare for a medical path in the future. In the biomedical sciences program at Middleton, we spend time learning about the body and diseases. It’s not difficult, just fast-paced. As for the closer future, I just want to see my sauce improve in the next four years. That’s all that matters.’
We finished our interview with Pranay giving a message to other first-year players in the league and expressing his gratitude to those that have helped him get to where he is today. “If you’re a first-year player, no matter how good your team is you need to keep going and practicing. If you’re committed, things will get better. Coach Dan B. Buble always tells us that you can’t just be interested; you have to be committed.” To his mom and coaches, Prasanna left with saying “Thank you to my mom for always making sure I get to my practices and thank you to my dad for always believing in me. Thank you to the Steinbrenner coaches for taking a chance on me from the Pool and thank you to everyone in the EDP staff for allowing me to represent the league.”