He's played in state basketball games and placed in a state track and field meet.
Thursday, Luke Kavanaugh added the highest honor given to Pillager High School track and field athletes: The Husky Award.
The award is in essence the teams' most valuable player award.
"The Husky Award envelopes leadership, ability, attitude and mentorship," Husky track coach Jim Bentson said. "Luke's brought a couple of high jumpers, hurdlers and long jumpers under his wing and walked them through the basics of what you have to do to succeed."
Said Kavanaugh: "The honor feels pretty good. I didn't really expect it because Mark (Gaalswyk) is a pretty good track guy too. It could've easily been given to either one of us."
Kavanaugh also had a successful athletic career at Pillager. Last weekend, he tied for third in the high jump with a school-record jump of 6-3 at the Class 1A state track and field meet at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
"I just wanted to get to state and get in the top nine," Kavanaugh said of this year's state track meet. "I just figured I'll go for a school record and I finished in a good place out of it.
Kavanaugh lost out to eventual champion Parker Robinson of Crosby-Ironton. But he pointed out that competing against the best in the state helped raise his standards.
"It helps going up against a bunch of good competitors," Kavanaugh said of the state meet field. "Mostly because they push you harder."
He was also a member of the 2002 Pillager boys' basketball team that placed fourth.
"Going to state in basketball was different because we went as a team and had a couple of more days down in the Cities," Kavanaugh said. "I like track better and that was pretty fun. It was a lot different because it was just me and Mark that went down for the boys' team."
Bentson pointed out that any Pillager athlete would be wise to try and model after Kavanaugh.
"Two or three years ago Luke was a shy kid," Bentson said. "Now he's opened up his personality. Luke would be a good person for anybody to model themselves after."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.