Thorold Elite’s Evan Almighty
Evan Blake has had a track and field and cross country running season to remember.
The 13-year-old Niagara Falls resident’s latest success was winning District School Board of Niagara’s 3.5-kilometre senior boys race in a time of 12:06.29 to complete an undefeated season at the elementary school level.
“One of our athletes ended up winning four out of the eight DSBN championship races, so going into it with his race being the last one of the day, I know he was feeling the pressure to come out on top but I was confident the whole time,” coach Steven Fife said. “We knew who the other top competitors would be and I believed pretty strongly that Evan would take it.”
The Thorold Elite Track Club member enjoyed a stellar summer season even before school started in the fall.
The Grade 8 student at Valley Way Public School in Niagara Falls led the Thorold Elite Track Club’s under-14 team to its third straight provincial title. He won five individual medals at the Athletics Ontario Provincial Championships, including gold in the 200-metre hurdles, 300 metres, 800 metres and silver in the long jump and javelin. He was also part of the bronze-medal winning 4×800-mere Thorold Elite relay team. Blake was selected to compete in the Ontario Summer Games in Mississauga in July and won an assortment of individual medals there as well.
“He’s proven that he’s incredibly versatile and could go in a lot of different directions in terms of doing jumps or javelin or hurdles, but at the end of the day he is excelling enough just in running that we may want to keep our focus there,” Fife said. “Right now, he is easy and just says he will do whatever I want him to do but eventually we are going to have to narrow our path a bit more.”
Fife is thrilled for his athlete.
“I’m really proud of him and I know he’s equally proud of himself. This will be a name to remember.”
The member of the Niagara FC Ontario Player Development League team joined Thorold Elite in July 2020.
“It was during COVID and I had nothing to do. A friend told us about this and I just started running.”
Fire remembers when Blake arrived at the club.
“At that time, I would say he was more of a soccer player with a moderate interest in track and field and wanting to stay active and build up some speed and stamina, but if you look at what he has achieved here in the last year or so, in particular, I know that we have developed a true love of running and of track and field and that he’s really made his mark here.”
It was anything but love in the beginning for Blake.
“It was painful from the start but it is a lot better now,” he said. “I find it good exercise and it’s a lot of fun.”
The track training is also a big boost on the soccer pitch.
“It helps with endurance, speed, technical stuff and just playing the ball.”
He would have a difficult time deciding if he was told he could only play one sport.
“It would be very, very tough.”
Blake isn’t sure yet where he is going with running.
“I just going to keep going until something happens I guess.”
He has many highlights this summer but for him the best part of the year has been the process.
“It has been improving on the events because before I was at the bottom of some of them and now I am in the top five,” he said. “I like everything but running I like the most.”
He has surprised himself with his results this summer and credits one thing for his success.
“It’s training hard.”