It’s been two years since track and field star Evan White left but even though he didn’t go far, he’s travelled a long way when it comes to how far he’s progressed as an athlete.
Earlier this spring, White’s recent performance at UMass Lowell earned him the opportunity to be named to the U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Association’s All-East Region Team, and later this month he will head to Stanislaus, California for the NCAA Division II Championships ranked second overall in the country among Division II 400 meter runners.
This past weekend, White won both the 200 and 400 meter dash and led the 4X400 meter relay team to victory to compile 30 of UMass Lowell's 77 points at the New England Championship, in which the River Hawks placed fourth. White ran the 200 meters in 21.19 seconds - eclipsing his previous school record of 21.21, set earlier this season.
Earlier this month, he was named Northeast-10 Track Athlete of the Year for his similar performance at the conference championship meet in Lowell.
But whether he’s performing in the 400 meter or sprinting in the 200 meter, he still remembers how his time in Tewksbury helped prepare him for success with constant encouragement up the road to Lowell.
“My coaches used to run for UMass Lowell and they definitely pushed me hard to go there, they kept saying I had what it took to do well,” said White, who is now a sophomore.
White kept his eyes on Lowell, the River Hawks were looking at the young Tewksbury athlete as well, particularly his record setting performance in the 200 meters at the 2009 New England Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“We knew that he certainly had a lot of talent and he could definitely piece it into something like this,” said UMass Lowell coach Gary Gardner. “And we knew that he already had it in the 200, but we thought it might take until his junior year to get where he thought he is now in the 400, so we’re definitely pleased.”
The rapid ascent came in large part due learning how to harness his talent from Gardner and his staff as well as constant encouragement from his friends on campus.
“When I started at Lowell, I had the worst form you ever seen, but (Gardner) helped me learn how to increase my top speed and stay at that rate for longer,” said White. “But I definitely want to give a shout out to my roommates Jeff and Craig, I train all year with them and they’re always pushing me to get better. Even when I slip up, they’re going to be right there behind me.”
If White continues at his current rate of progress, Gardner believes he can become the best runner in UMass Lowell history by the time he’s all said and done, but despite the refinement process White’s undergone in his two years as a collegiate athlete, he wouldn’t be able to be at the level he’s at now without the start he got in Tewksbury.
“The coaches in Tewksbury definitely do a good job with their program,” said Gardner. “They did a good job preparing him for the next level.”