In it to win it: Cardinals senior and MSU-Mankato commit Cam Hungerholt has thrived in the spotlight

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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LEROY – Cam Hungerholt has grown up in a small town, but he’s always had a big spotlight on him.

Now he’s following a big dream.

Hungerholt, a senior quarterback for the Cardinals, has committed to play football at Division II Minnesota State University at Mankato.

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It’s a fitting place for Cam to play as his father Aaron Hungerholt played college basketball for the Mavericks as well. If that wasn’t enough pressure for Cam, he also grew in the shadow of his older brother and former L-O quarterback Trey Hungerholt.

However, Cam took that pressure and ran with it as he and Trey would often walk the block from their home to the football field to get in workouts long before Cam ever stepped on the field as a varsity player.

“It helped a lot that I had familiarity,” Cam said. “My dad has always worked with me and my big brother (Trey) taught me everything I know about being a quarterback. I used to come out here as a sixth grader and work out with him when he was a senior. We’d work on quarterback draws and throwing. He showed me what it’s like to work hard and to be a varsity football player.”

Cam is the third L-O football player to land a Division II offer in the last four years and he found his way to recruiters by using social media, attending junior camps and staying in touch with coaches. In the end, Cam’s attitude may be as impressive as his athletic ability as he has never shied away from the big moments.

“When the game is on the line, I want the ball,” Cam said. “Our goal is to win state (this year). We know we fell short last year and that motivates us. We don’t even talk about last year, that’s how much we don’t like it.”

This season, Cam will have a little extra help as L-O has combined football programs with Lyle-Pacelli, giving the team extra numbers.

Cam earned his stripes early on when he started at defensive back as a freshman for the L-O state championship team in 2021. Since then, he’s developed into one of the top playmakers in all of nine-man football in Minnesota. Hungerholt carried the Cardinal offense last season as he ran for 2,627 yards and 36 TDs, while throwing for 1,595 yards and 15 TDs.

On defense, he had 84 tackles, three tackles for a loss and three interceptions.

L-O head coach Trevor Carrier has no problem running his offense through Cam as he has earned his trust.

Cam’s such a great athlete. He doesn’t miss a weight session and he’s always striving for more,” Carrier said. “He has that Michael Jordan philosophy where he’s going for the win. He’s not just playing and trying to win. He competes to be the best. He’s got some great brothers and sisters and he’s got a lot of family members playing at the DII level. Sometimes you’re kind of born with that extra spring in you and he’s got that. He comes from a big family and a very good family and he’s making his name as one of the best across the state.”

Cam said that he credits the players he played with in 2021 and the players he’s playing with now for pushing him to improvements that brought him to where he is.

“That group really took me under their wing when I was a little freshman. They got me ready for football and they really showed me what it was all about,” Cam said. “Coach Carrier does a good job of getting me ready every day and my teammates all help out. The scout team does a great job of motivating me and everybody on the team does a good job of motivating each other.”

Cam is projected to be a defensive back for the Mavericks, who went 9-3 overall last season. Their season ended on a 51-24 loss to Augustana in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

By committing to the Mavericks, Hungerholt will likely be reunited with his former teammate Tanner Olson, a redshirt freshman with the Mavericks who is listed as a defensive lineman this season. L-O grad Gavin Sweeney is also playing in the Northern Sun Conference as he will be playing defensive end at Upper Iowa this season.

Carrier said it’s great to have multiple players go on and play football at the next level.

I believe in our program and I believe in our coaching staff,” Carrier said. “We do a lot of work in the weight room and we do a lot in preparing them mentally for life. Life is difficult. Life is hard. I think we do a good job of preparing them across the board. It’s a testament to our hard working kids, our community and our coaching staff.”

Blooming Prairie grad Gabe Hagen is a tight end at MSU-Mankato, and BP grad Drew Kittelson is listed as wide receiver on the roster.