'Fierce competitor, gentle spirit'

Luke Jannusch works hard and scores high, whether he's playing baseball, football or doing his math homework. The Ashland High School senior and his family took some time to chat with the Tidings about Luke's recent achievements and his plans for the future. His parents came along because, "Luke's not one to toot his own horn," says Steve Jannusch, Luke's father.

While Luke is a top-notch football player and snowboarder, his real passion is baseball. Last summer, he helped the Ashland Pilots American Legion A baseball team win the state championship. According to his father, Luke has been playing baseball since he was 4 years old.

"He's always loved sports," Steve said. "He's a fierce competitor, and a gentle spirit."

DT: How old are you?

Luke: 17 years old.

DT: What do you like most about playing baseball?

Luke: I like being in a pressure situation and coming out successful.

DT: What do you like least about playing baseball?

Luke: Baseball is a game of centimeters. There is a centimeter's difference between hitting a home run, or hitting a grounder.

DT: Do you play any other sports?

Luke: I snowboard and play football.

DT: What are your other interests outside of sports?

Luke: Hanging out with my friends and traveling to new places.

DT: How do you maintain a 3.65 GPA while also playing sports?

Luke: There were periods I would come home from practice, eat dinner, and have to fall asleep because I was too tired to do my homework. I would have to get my homework done somehow, so I would set my alarm clock for — a.m. and do my homework in the middle of the night. It was kind of a nap before I could start my homework.

DT: What are your plans after you graduate high school?

Luke: I probably will go to the University of Oregon, but I'm undecided as to what my major will be.

DT: Are there any sports you haven't tried, but want to try someday?

Luke: I've always wanted to try hockey, but because I was into snowboarding, I never got around to doing it.

DT: You obviously work hard. Can you tell us about someone who inspires you?

Luke: The most inspirational person I can think of was Coach David Kitchell. He coached me throughout my high school football career. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and would tell us endless stories of different challenges in his childhood. He was a multiple-cancer survivor, but lost the fight late last year. He was the hardest-working individual I have ever met. And he changed the lives of so many young people.

DT: Of all your accomplishments what are you most proud of?

Luke: This last season in football we went undefeated in the regular season, won the Big Sky Conference Championship, won our first playoff game, and ended with an 11-1 record.

DT: How would you describe your team this year?

Luke: Our baseball team is very interesting and funny. But when times need to be serious, like in games, everyone on our team can flip the switch and mean business.

DT: Your parents are so proud of you. Can you tell us something about them that makes you proud?

Luke: The thing that comes to mind is that my mom is a three-time cancer survivor. And when she was going through chemotherapy, nobody noticed any change in her personality. She worked pretty much full-time during her therapy. In addition, both my parents have supported me through my sports for my whole life, and without them I wouldn't have all the good sports memories that I have today.


Junior Ashlanders is a new series by Tidings Correspondent . To nominate a candidate for consideration in this series send an e-mail to Content Editor Mike Green (). Write JUNIOR ASHLANDER NOMINATION in the subject line. Then briefly describe why the Tidings should feature your nominee.

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