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|Long road leads to regionals in Tennessee|
Growing up without a father figure can be a challenge for any kid. Even with a great support system like his mother Christina Evans, Christopher Evans has hurdled over many of his own shares of adversity.
For Evans, 15, of West Monroe, it has been a long run to recognition.
And running is exactly what Evans has been doing the last two years since first joining the Good Hope Middle School track and field team. His new team, Peak Performance, will send him as part of their local team to the southern regional championship meet in Murfreesboro, Tenn. this coming weekend.
"I got (Chris) and his sister into the Peak Performance program," Christina Evans, his mother, said. "If it was not for his coaches pushing him real hard each day, I don't know where he would be."
His sister Claudia, 9, now joins him on the track as part of the Peak Performance Track Club organized by head coach Dennis Groll.
Evans will make his first regional appearance of his short but active track career this weekend.
A few weeks ago, Evans finished first in the high jump, third in the 110-meter hurdles, and fourth in the 400-meter hurdle to qualify for the trip to the Volunteer state.
"Chris is relatively new to the sport," Groll said. "He is tall, lanky and basically just what you want in good hurdler."
Evans has come into is own since coming out for his middle school team at the urging of Good Hope track coach Mike Gill.
He was then introduced to Dennis Groll who has made waves in local youth sports circles since his vision for the Peak Performance track club came to be a reality in a few years ago.
"(Coach Groll) has been a real good coach and mentor," Christina Evans said. "He has seen something in Christopher and has pushed him real good."
Evans hopes to follow in the footsteps of another local talent to perform in the Olympics: Beau Greer.
Greer, a ULM track star who still holds javelin records at the school, competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic games.
For now, Evans will enjoy his summer of travel and competition. He will be a freshman at West Monroe High School in the fall.
Evans has shown flashes of becoming a world class hurdler, according to Groll. That kind of improvement could make his ultimate goal of running in the Summer Olympics a real possibility in the near future, Groll said.
"He is developing into what I think will be a strong hurdler," Groll said. "He works hard and his best track is in front of him."