The Lake Minneola sophomore became a breakthrough athlete in the Orlando area.

Outstanding Lake Minneola track and field athlete Kai Evans has earned a host of prestigious nicknames this calendar year.

Name him FHSAA Class 3A State Champion in the 400m Hurdles.

Call him national champion in the same competition.

Call him the record holder of Central Florida.

Call him the fastest tenth grader in Florida history.

Yes that’s right. Evans is just a sophomore and the 400 hurdles isn’t even his favorite event. He placed fourth in the Class 3A State 110 Hurdles and also ran the 100m and 200m in the FHSAA Finals, placing ninth in both sprints.

“The 200th is my favorite, but it’s my best time-based event,” Evans said after winning the hurdles.

With two more years of speed improvement ahead of him, you can also name Evans the 2023 Today News Boys Athlete of the Year.

About a month after winning the state 400 hurdles title, Evans won the same event at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field in the New Balance Nationals. His winning time of 51.44 broke the Central Florida record previously held by Johnny Love of Oak Ridge, who ran 52.17 at the 1995 Nationals.

Bowlers Apopka and Kai Evans of Lake Minneola claim national championships

Evans also set a new Florida record for sophomores by beating 51.89 Miami Northwest athlete Artie Burns, who went on to play pro football in the NFL.

Now the question is how fast Evans can run as he gains more experience in the 400 hurdles, which was not a state competition until this season.

“I didn’t really train for this,” Evans said after setting the FHSAA competition record with his 52.35 win. “I only practiced once a week because I have other activities. I lost my way and continued to overcome obstacles. I can definitely get better.”

In addition to the Girls’ and Boys’ Athletes of the Year, the Sentinel’s Varsity Awards 2022-23 includes the Boys’ and Girls’ Athletes of the Year, Team of the Year, Coaches of the Year and Rising Stars. These awards will also be posted on

University Content Editor Buddy Collings can be contacted at [email protected].

Junior Two-Sport Winner Wins Today News Rising Star Award

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