BP’s own is one of the state’s best student-athletes
For most people 2020 was a dud of a year, but senior offensive lineman and linebacker Luke Larkoski’s year is going out with a bang because he was recently named Academic All-State by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association.
When he was found out he’d received this honor, he was thrilled.
“My reaction was just being overly excited, because I know how prestigious this award was and how only a few players get this award,” he said.
He mentioned that this award means a lot to him because it shows that his hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Knowing that my coaches and my school want to recognize me for my hard work on the field and in the classroom means everything to me,” Larkoski said.
Athletically, he’s competing in four sports, cross country, football, basketball and baseball, this year and was recently named to the Mid-Southeast All-District team.
Meanwhile, academically, he’s earned a 4.084 grade point average and is taking three college-level classes.
Given his hard work on the field and in the classroom, Coach Chad Gimbel said Larkoski is a consummate student-athlete.
“He is a student first, understanding the importance of education and putting forth the time on that. But academic all-state is not just selected on their academics, they also have to be very good football players as well, which he is. He has been a two-year starter and a huge part of our success these last two years because of his play on the field,” he said.
He added that Larkoski has been a huge part of Blooming Prairie’s success and a good offensive lineman and linebacker because he’s smart, aggressive, loves to compete, plays within the system, cares about getting his job done and works hard.
Larkoski deflected some of the praise, saying the Awesome Blossoms’ coaching staff also deserve credit for his and the team’s success.
“The keys are to have a great coaching staff around you. I was very blessed to have the best coaches in football,” he said. “I also believe having great focus on the field will bring you great success when playing a game.”
He believes his focus has also been one of the keys to his academic success.
“My ability to focus on school when it’s time to focus. As a student, I like to have fun whenever I can, but when it is time to learn I can always focus and make sure I can learn what I am being taught,” he said.
Gimbel said the fact that Larkoski can do so well academically and athletically is very impressive.
“It says he’s a hard worker, he takes a lot of pride in what he does, he doesn’t take shortcuts and he pursues excellence,” he said.
He noted that Larkoski’s commitment and dedication to doing his best makes him a good role model to other students.
“He [gives maximum] effort in everything he does and does everything to the best of his ability,” he said. “It’s great to have goals, but what is important is working to attain those goals.”
While the work to achieve Academic All-State was an individual undertaking, Larkoski said his support system inspired him to do his best athletically and academically.
“My friends and family are my biggest motivators in sports and in the classroom. They motivate me by knowing that I cannot let them down and that I need to do my best for them,” he said.
He said one person in particular deserves thanks for helping him achieve this honor.
“I would like to thank my father, Mark Larkoski. He has been there for me throughout sports and school and he is the one who keeps me the most motivated to do my best. I would not be as successful in sports or in the classroom if it wasn’t for him,” he said.
He’s still going through numerous college applications, but his top choice is Carleton College. Wherever he lands, he’d like to study pre-medicine with the goal of becoming a doctor.