Favorite athlete: Odell Beckham Jr.
Favorite team: New York Giants
Favorite memory competing in sports: Passing the field on my leg of the 4x800 at states junior year and then doubling back to take second in the 4x400
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: At states my sophomore year during a relay, my teammate thought I was someone on another team with a similar uniform and almost handed him our baton mid-race.
Music on iPod: Lots of Eminem to pump me up for races.
Future plans: I plan to major in engineering at Pitt
Words to live by: “The only thing you can control is your reaction.” –Mama Kutney
One goal before turning 30: I want to go skydiving, which has been a fear of mine for a long time.
One thing people don’t know about me: I took eight years of karate as a kid.
By Craig Ostroff
Running is life.
It’s more than a slogan. It’s a metaphor.
Evan Kutney can attest that it’s a pretty accurate one.
The Council Rock South senior will admit that he had his share of ups and downs this year on the cross country, winter track, and spring track teams. His athletic endeavors brought him triumphs as well as trials, good times as well as bad, victories won and lessons learned.
He wouldn’t trade a single one.
“Everything that’s happened this year, all the positives as well as the negatives, they’re a big part of who I am now,” Kutney said.
A very big lesson came late in the cross country season when Kutney was forced to relinquish his spot in the varsity lineup.
“Cross country has never been my specialty or what I’ve been best at, but I’ve always worked my hardest there to do my best for the team,” he said. “This season, I was running varsity the majority of the year, but toward the end of the season, we did have seven more talented guys. I had to accept that the team is advancing and growing and I was leaving next year and they were building.
“I had to let go of my personal feelings to do what was best for the team. It wasn’t what I would have hoped for the season, but it’s what needed to happen. And I think I grew from it. There have been many, many life lessons running has taught me over the years – that was one that I didn’t expect, but came nonetheless, and I had to learn from it and move on from it.”
But with high expectations for the upcoming winter and spring track seasons, Kutney refused to let his setback in cross country affect his goals for the upcoming seasons. He remained focused on his goals and continued to put forth the efforts in practice for which he has become known over his four years at South.
“Evan is a kid who always does his best in practice, never cheats himself, never takes an interval off, never does less than what he’s capable of, and that’s reflected in how he races,” said first-year Hawks’ cross country and track coach Paul Wilson.
There would be more lessons awaiting Kutney in the winter – one of the most important life lessons, as a matter of fact.
With his 4x400 relay team looking to qualify for districts, Kutney missed a meet during the winter after being involved in a car accident. While he escaped with minimal injury, Kutney did learn how quickly his health and his future could have been taken away from him.
“That made me consider that maybe I got lucky,” he said. “I’m still here, so I might as well do what I can with the life I have right now. I redoubled my efforts into school as well as into running, and we pulled off some pretty great times.
“All four of our guys ran PRs (personal records) to get second in the state in the 4x400, and I ran a pretty good time in my split in the 4x800 as well. It was definitely influenced by what had happened.”
In order to run in the two relays, Kutney had to sacrifice a chance to run as an individual in the open 800. While he said he would have liked a chance at running as an individual, it wasn’t a difficult decision which race to give up.
“I’ve always loved the team aspect of track and field, handing the baton off to someone who’s going to run their heart out for you, right after you’ve run your heart out for them,” Kutney said.
“Evan has run some outstanding relay times,” Wilson added. “All his fastest times occur as part of relays. That’s something a coach likes to see, it shows he can find an extra gear when he’s supporting his friends. Evan is the kind of guy who does not want to let them down.”
While the spring track season didn’t end the way Kutney would have preferred, it did feature some solid performances in relays, a 4x400 school record, a terrific 1:54 split among his times, and a trip to the Penn Relays.
Kutney’s accomplishments don’t end on the athletic fields. He’s one of the top students in his class, and his success both in athletics and academics saw him named a recipient of the Courier-Kiwanis Scholar-Athlete Award, presented to one male and one female athlete in every Bucks County school. Kutney and Phylicia Wilkov were South’s honorees.
“It was an awesome feeling to be there,” Kutney said. “I was also very humbled. I told my parents afterwards, ‘Everyone there was better than me.’ But it was cool to be among everyone and be recognized as top scholar-athlete.”
Of course, Kutney’s academic achievements are pretty impressive as well. He’s been a fixture on the Distinguished Honor Roll every marking period in his high school career. He carries a GPA above 4.0, is a member of the National Honor Society and English Honor Society, and was formerly a member of the Spanish Honor Society.
In the fall, Kutney will head to the University of Pittsburgh, where he plans to pursue engineering. And while he plans on keeping in running shape, he said he knows the chances of walking on the Panthers’ track and field team are almost nonexistent.
“I know I’m going to work hard at Pitt and find my place,” he said. “I don’t think I would be able to make it to walk onto Pitt’s team, plus playing a Division I sport without a scholarship is a huge commitment.
“It’s tough to accept, but I might run club, or pick up other sports. I’m definitely going to stay involved in athletics. Running is always going to be a part of me.”
Council Rock South will always be a part of Kutney as well, even though his time walking the halls will officially come to an end when he graduates this week.
It’s an event he looks toward with trepidation, but also a lot of excitement.
“There are a lot of different emotions when you think about graduation,” he said. “You never want to think about the friends you made in high school and realizing you’re not going to see them as much, if at all, after graduation.
“But it’s not like I’m being thrown into something I’m not ready for. I’m definitely excited, going to college is going to be brand new, and there are going to be so many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, so many things I can do that I couldn’t do in high school. It doesn’t feel real yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready.”