Buchholz’s Evan Fleming named Athlete of the Week

Buchholz's Evan Fleming
Buchholz's Evan Fleming broke the school track and field record in the 800-meter run at the FSU Relays in Tallahassee with a time of 1 minute, 52.03 seconds, breaking the previous record set in 1976.
Photo by Patrick Douma

Last Friday a school record that had stood for almost 50 years was broken by Buchholz’s Evan Fleming.

The senior broke the school track and field record in the 800-meter run at the FSU Relays in Tallahassee with a time of 1 minute,52.03 seconds, breaking the previous record set in 1976. It was the second-fastest time in the state this year and the ninth-fastest in the nation.

“Evan has come a long way since deciding to race the 800m in March of his sophomore year,” said Buchholz distance coach Patrick Douma. “He had originally been a 400m runner, but stepping up in events to the 800m was the right choice for him. Often kids select an event where the training and racing don’t require a lot of tolerance of pain. For that reason, the 800m is often shied away from by many kids who could be good at it but are just not interested.”

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This weekend’s race was second place overall but only .08 seconds off first place in the college race earlier in the day and .21 seconds behind the winning time in the high school race (eighth in the nation this year).

“Evan is still developing as a runner having entered the sport of track and field as a freshman and only really began to truly focus about this time last year,” Douma said.

He was also the anchor of the 4×400 Buchholz relay team on Saturday afternoon after winning his heat in the 3200-meter run in a time of 9:25 on Saturday morning.

This week he will compete in the 1600-meter run on Friday at the Florida Relays on the campus of the University of Florida.

“Evan embraced the 800m, knowing that it was a ticket to being ranked within the state of Florida and now nationally,” Douma said. “The pain part didn’t really matter to him, and that characteristic as an athlete is a joy to coach. His recent 800m school record is significant in that it’s lasted since 1976.”

The time that Fleming beat (1:52.8) was a hand-timed 880 yards, which converted to 800 is just a bit slower than Evan’s time.

“Certainly, part of Evan’s legacy is that he was part of our 4 x 1 mile Nike indoor national championship and the lead-off leg of our Nike indoor second-place distance medley relay finish,” Douma said. “I remember telling Evan that he had to win the lead-off leg. He said, ‘Yeah I’ll do it,’ and he did it.”

Fleming is the 31st athlete to be selected for the weekly award during the 2023-24 school year.

Last week’s winner was Kennith Martin of the Eastside boys track and field team.

Martin won two individual track events at the Wildwood Invitational and two individual events at the Columbia Invitational in Lake City. The senior was also a part of the Rams’ 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams that won first place at both venues.

Recent winners include Addison Allaire of the Trenton softball team and Jhalea Jackson of the Class 1A state champion Hawthorne girls’ basketball team.

For a complete list of winners, click here.

Coaches are encouraged to email their nominations each week, along with stats, no later than Sunday night to mike.ridaught@mainstreetdailynews.com.

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