Kevin "Prodigy" Evans, at 16, is in first place among male competitors under 18 regionally, and second worldwide.
It's certainly an accomplishment to be one of the top-100 male competitors in the Mid Atlantic after four weeks of competition. However, a top-100 spot becomes particularly impressive when the competitor is a 16-year-old boy.
Kevin "Prodigy" Evans is currently in 99th place in the Mid Atlantic Region. Evans is in first place among male competitors under 18 regionally, and second place worldwide.
Evans started CrossFit in 2009 at the age of 13 at NEPA CrossFit, owned by Brennan Morton.
“In his first week, we did not yet have a kids program up and running, so we were training him on the side,” Morton says. “We were doing squat cleans, and during class I asked him to do a simpler movement pattern. He agreed smiling, grabbed a bar and went where no one could see him for about 10 minutes. He walked back up to me and said, ‘I got it,’ and then proceeded to show us that in 10 minutes, he had taught himself a rather decent squat clean. We called him a prodigy and it stuck.”
It did not take long for Evans’ coaches to see his potential. Morton saw tenacity and motivation in him most athletes don't have, along with definite athletic ability.
“He is the kid that will watch you do something you are proud of, something he has never done before, and five minutes later, he will be able to do it as well and do it so much better than you,” Morton says. “He has a body awareness that is unparalleled. If he sees a video of something, it only takes him a few tries before he can do it, too.”
Evans says he liked CrossFit from the start, but it was during the 2011 Games season when he decided he wanted to compete.
“We did some of the Open (workouts) at our gym and then I saw it on TV and I was like, ‘I want to be there.’”
In 2012, Evans signed up for his first Open.
“Last year during the Open, some of the (workouts) were pretty good for me,” Evans recalls. “I ended up placing 97th. I really thought I could make Regionals this next year. So I really took my training seriously this past year, trying to get my strength numbers up.”
Over the summer when not in school, Evans did three to four workouts every day, which included strength, Olympic lifting technique and skill focus. Once the school year started, he continued working out six to seven days a week doing one or two workouts a day, which usually included strength training of some sort.
“My average day is go to school, go to CrossFit, then go eat dinner with my parents,” he says. “I’m either at CrossFit or with my parents.”
Evans knows there could be many opportunities to get off track in his school environment.
“CrossFit keeps me out of trouble. My coaches have played a huge roll in that,” he says. “Just giving me advice and stuff. I get to hang out at the box all day if I want to. I have a place to go.”
Evans also acknowledges his parents.
“My parents are extremely supportive. If I ever need anything, they get it for me in a heartbeat. They always ask me how my workout went, if I PR’d. They go to most of the competitions, video tape them, take pictures, I can hear them cheering.”
Evans credits CrossFit for giving him something his peers may be missing.
“I think I'm mentally stronger, just based on what I put myself through every day,” he says. “I know how hard to push myself through whatever it is.”
Evans is clear that his goal for the 2013 Open is to qualify for Regionals. However, if he doesn't make it this year, he's not going anywhere.
“Ultimately, I'd like to win the Games, but just getting there would be huge.”