Class of 1976
It’s amazing enough for any high school track and field athlete to have earned an Olympic Team USA berth in the modern era of the sport. It’s quite another thing to go on and actually win an Olympic medal as a prep. But that’s what Dwayne Evans did when he rocked the T&F world in 1976, claiming the 200m bronze in the Montreal Games with a 20.43. No American schoolboy has medaled in an Olympic track and field event since.
Success came quickly for the Arizona-born and raised Evans and being part of a great program was a big part of it. He helped lead South Mountain HS out of Phoenix to three state team titles in T&F from 1974-76. As a soph, he clocked a windy 9.5 100y and 21.4 for the 220. Then in ’75 as a junior, Evans swept the state 100y (legal 9.5) and 220y, then won the AAU Junior 200m at 20.9 (also running 10.5 100m). He even got to run in an international USA-USSR dual meet, taking 2nd in the 200. Still, he couldn’t know what awaited him his senior year.
Evans improved his 100y to 9.44, repeated his state 100/220 double, got his 100m down to a hand-timed 10.1 – and kept inching his 200s deeper in the sub-21 range. He qualified for the 1976 Olympic Trials and, despite being just 17 years old, he didn’t blink. In the final, he blazed a HSR 20.22 to take 2nd behind Millard Hampton. He was going to Montreal! Evans was just as consistent when he got to the Games, moving through each round and in the final completing his amazing senior year with the above-mentioned medal performance. He was named the 1976 Track and Field News Athlete of the Year.
Evans went on to star at Arizona State, helping his team to the 1977 team title and winning the individual 200 crown in 1981. He set the school record at 20.20 and competed for several years after, winning 4x100 gold in 1985 at the World Cup meet and getting his time down to 20.08 in 1987. He now coaches his alma mater at South Mountain.
Photo courtesy of David Kadlubowski.
Did You Know?
Between 1976 and 1987, Dwayne Evans was ranked in the world’s top 10 200-meter runners six times by Track & Field News.