BELGRADE — There may not have been a 2020 Belgrade track and field season, but that didn’t stop Panthers junior Evan Major from working hard in the offseason to come back in 2021 and break multiple school records.
“There’s not any other feeling like it," he said. "You get to walk into school and see your name on the board.”
Major shattered the Belgrade records in the 100-meter (11.08 seconds, previous record was 11.18) and the 200-meter (22.33 seconds, previous record was 22.56). He also was co-champion in the Top-10 that took place in Laurel last week. For Panthers boys track and field head coach Scott Palmer, the coaching staff recognized his talent the first time he stepped foot on their track.
“When Evan came in as a freshman, we could tell right there he had a lot of natural ability," Palmer said. "Then from that, he has put time into the weight room getting stronger, he does a lot of our conditioning drills really well, he just has a good drive to him.”
After being unstoppable because of his speed while running the football at recess during his earlier years, it sparked his interest in joining the track team and the rest is history. However, he's like a lot of people, using exercise as an outlet.
“It’s something that gets your mind clear and when you cross the finish line there’s not any other feeling like it, it’s kind of like a coping thing,” said Major.
When most kids his age were playing video games and staying at home in 2020 due COVID-19, Major was training at the Panthers track with Noel Reynolds, who is now a freshman on the Dakota Wesleyan track team.
“I would come out here and it wasn’t everything intense, it was just to come out here, relax and work on my starts and get better at everything in general,” said Major.
It's rare to find that kind of drive in a high school athlete, so when the 2021 season started the coaching staff was impressed to see that kind of growth in Major.
“It’s amazing for him that he was able to maintain where he was at from a freshman to a sophomore year and then come in as a junior without having that season and be able to just improve,” said Palmer.
It’s that drive and determination that has led to Major’s success.
“That’s just who he is," Palmer said. "He wants to be known for being fast and he wants to be known for being one of the best. That price tag does not come cheap. You have to put in the time and the effort to be able to achieve those goals.”
Being just a junior, he’s hoping that his work ethic can help him win some state titles this year and next.
“My only goal this year is to win state and bring home the gold medal,” Major said.