Staying on track, staying in your lane and finishing what you start are aspects all of us can relate to in life’s journey.
Huntington’s Kavarea Applewhite admits staying on track isn’t easy. But for Applewhite, his discipline and dedication on the track is what separates him from others his age.
Kavarea began running track competitively his freshman year. The outcome of his first-ever race would likely have meant the last race for others. But not Kavarea.
"I placed dead last,” Kavarea said smiling.
“Even though I placed dead last, I still had the courage to keep running. I stuck with it, stuck it out, grinded, you know hard work," he said.
Through hard work and an average of 20 hours per week on the track, Kavarea is your reigning LHSAA Class 4A state champion in the 400 meter dash.
"People say that's a hard race, I say that's a breeze race, it's fun," said Kavarea.
400 meters is one full lap, sprinting, around the track.
"I enjoy running it and it's the race I love to do," he said.
In doing what he loves, just three years of competitive racing, Kavarea's hardware speaks for itself.
Kavarea has won enough medals to date, that if he laid them down on the track, they could complete 400 meters.
But if entering the world were a track meet, Kavarea would have been disqualified for jumping the gun.
"He was born 2 and a half months premature, and with that comes a lot of medical problems," said Kimberly Applewhite, Kavarea’s Mom.
Kavarea and his twin brother, Jamarea, used sports as a way to overcome health obstacles.
"For about 5 years, he was on a lot of medications to help control the high blood pressure until he started running track,” said Applewhite.
“Once he started running track and becoming more active, by his 9th grade year, he was able to come off all medications,” she said.
Kavarea says his family's support at every race, from start to finish fuels his fire.
“To see my family in the stands, cheering me on, with my name on their shirt, supporting me just means everything to me man,” said Kavarea.
"And as a mother I'm always proud of him and when he looks in the stands he always sees Mom cheering him on all the way and I'm so very proud of him,” said Kimberly Applewhite.
“I'm happy for him and I feel like he's accomplishing a lot," she said.
Huntington's track Coach, LeRonn Burris, has been in Kavarea's shoes.
"I ran track at Huntington also, I did the 400 like Kavarea, he's much better than I was," Coach Burris said smiling.
Coach Burris has 16 years of coaching experience and says it's no surprise Kavarea's receiving interest from college coaches to run track.
"I'd put Kavarea as one of the top, the top athletes, since I've been coaching track," said Coach Burris.
“He’s just a great all-around kid. He’s all about the team and is a hard worker who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed,” he said.
As a rising senior, running college track is Kavarea's goal.
"I would love to run track for LSU man, they have the most talented athletes there,” said Kavarea.
Kavarea currently holds letters from Harvard, Penn State and Brown University. He’s hoping LSU track and field takes notices during his senior year.
“Some of the best runners go to that school and I would like to be part of that community and be part of that team,” he said.
Kavarea is looking to improve his 400 meter dash time down the 48 second range. He’s only been running track competitively three years but can already claim state champion status.
“I’m still hungry. I’m not done. I want to continue to improve,” said Kavarea.
“Most people might win a state championship and say ‘Alright, I did that, I’m good’ but I don’t think like that. I’m looking to defend that title next year,” he said.
As Kavarea’s done so far to achieve his goals, he plans to stay on track, stay in his lane and finish what he starts.
Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.