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Wyandotte Roosevelt's Evans hurdles her way to the top PHOTO GALLERY

  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (Photo courtesy of Jenny Pawelczyk)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)
  • Wyandotte Roosevelt's Kyana Evans won the 2017 Division 1 state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 42.64 seconds set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event. (MIPrepZone File Photo)

Wyandotte Roosevelt’s Kyana Evans finished with a gold medal at the Division 1 track and field state finals on June 3 in East Kentwood. But speed isn’t the only thing that defines this talented young lady. The senior sprinter is a champion on the track, in the classroom and with her teammates.

Winning times and records aside, Evans is not only a special athlete, but a special person as well.

“Kyana is more than just a great athlete,” said Roosevelt Coach Dave Lustig. “She has a great personality and might be one of the most humble people I've ever met.”

She is certainly one of the fastest people he’s ever met.

Evans raced to a first-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles at the state finals and helped lead the Bears to a seventh-place finish in a field of 55 teams.

Evans also shined at the past two state meets, but saved her best for last.

With a time of 42.64 seconds, the senior took first in the 300m hurdles at the D1 state meet on June 3. She set a new D1 state meet record and earned the third fastest time ever in the state in the event.

She is a state finalist for the Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year in girls' track and field. The winner will be announced on June 22, according to Gatorade.com.

At the state meet, Evans beat out Ann Arbor Skyline’s Chloe Foster (second, 43.82) and East Kentwood’s Mauriya Barnes (third, 44.48) for the gold.

“I was only ranked sixth in the state before the meet,” she said. “There were some girls who just started running the hurdles like Chloe Foster who had a PR of 43.6 and I had never broken 45 before the state meet so I was really nervous. I didn’t know if I could do it.”

Evans said her goal was 43 and she ended up even beating that.

“It surprised me a lot,” she said of her winning time of 42.64. “It didn’t seem like I ran that fast so I was a little shocked to see my time. I figured I would win if I could run a 43 so when I heard my time I knew I had the win.”

It was a huge day for Evans, overall, as she ran fifth at the meet in the 200m dash with a time of 24.86 and was a member of the Bears' fifth-place 4x100 relay team (48.16) along Olivia Johnson, Arrianna Lister and Daisy Neff.

Those who place eighth or better in each event at the state meet earn all-state honors.

Evans and some of her Roosevelt teammates were set for a trip down to Greensboro, NC for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet June 16-18. The meet is for athletes all over the country who meet a certain time or requirement based on their event.

Evans and her fellow Bears were set to compete in the sprint medley (best time for the Bears was 1 minute, 45 seconds); the 4x200 (1:43); and the 4x100 (48:16). There are individual events at Nationals but Evans has decided to focus on the relays with her teammates.

“I really like relays, they are a lot of fun,” she said. “We are all basically best friends and have so much chemistry. We work together really well and have some experience running together and that helps.”

Evans, who also played three years of basketball for Roosevelt, began taking track seriously during her sophomore year.

“My freshman year I struggled a lot and had a hip injury so I couldn’t run for half of the season,” she said. “Then I had a really good PR in the 300 in my last race and that got me thinking about qualifying next year for the state meet.”

Evans did make it to the state finals her sophomore year and also her junior year.

And it was right around that time that Lustig started to take notice.

“During her sophomore season is when it really hit me that we had something very special with her,” he said. “Along the way, her speed, strength and desire to be the best just helped to confirm what could happen.

“She was the top returning 300m hurdler in the state this year. Things got a little nerve wracking when one of the top 400m runners decided to go after the 300s and was turning out some pretty hot times this spring. That put a lot of pressure on Kyana for sure.”

But the Bear rose to the occasion.

“When she ran sub 56 at the MITCA Team State Meet in the 400m dash, I knew that things were going to work out well for her over at East Kentwood,” Lustig said.

As a junior, she finished fourth at the state finals with the three runners ahead of her all graduating.

As for school records, Evans is on the board in the 100m dash (12.06), 200m dash (24.86) and 400m dash (55.89). She also is part of school-best times in the 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay and 4x400 relay.

Evans is the sister of Robert Atwater, the 2014 Lincoln Park graduate who went to the Olympic Trials last summer in the high jump. While in high school, Atwater won a D1 high jump state championship.

“He always encourages me,” she said.

Evans, who will continue running track at the next level, is considering a number of colleges, but isn’t going to sprint into a decision until she feels like she has done her homework and found a place that meets both her academic and athletic interests.

“I’m looking at Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Saginaw and maybe a school out of state,” said Evans, who finished in the top 10 percent in her class and graduated with an impressive 3.78 GPA.

“School has always been important to me,” she said. “I want to study occupational therapy in college. I like the health field. I like helping people.”

Kyana appears to be sprinting her way to a successful life – both on and off the track.

Last Updated: 6/14/2017 10:33:02 PM EST