A Sioux Falls fifth grader at St. Mary School is a national champion triathlete for his age group after competing in West Chester, Ohio, in early August. Evan Mahrous is a member of Sanford's growing triathlon program and has a bright future ahead at just 11-years-old.
Parents Tarek and Heidi Mahrous say his passion started with intrigue five years ago when he spotted an event poster in a Sioux Falls HyVee store.
"He's always been somewhat into athletics. Swimming, running and the triathlon was the next step. We thought, lets see what he can do," Evan's dad Tarek said.
"The first one he did was when he was 7. He raced on his Huffy road bike. He qualified down in Omaha and at that time, it was Hyvee Iron Kids Circuit," Evan's mom Heidi said.
His passion and skill would only build from there. Evan competed in local youth triathlon events often times several weekends in a row. That eventually led him to the national championships in Ohio.
"He's raced in it the last three years. The first year he came in 2nd, last year he came in 3rd. He had motivation to pick up his game He put a lot of work in this year. We're so proud he's risen to the occasion and had a goal and followed through with it," Tarek said.
Evan's coach and trainer Kathy Grady is a competitive triathlete, as well. She's the program coordinator of the Sanford Triathlon Program.
"It's good to get the basic skills so they learn how to properly handle a bike. Swimming is the most technical. We want to make sure they get in as soon as they can. All kids run. It's nice to get them in at that young age so they progress each year," Coach Kathy Grady said.
She says Evan is one of her stand-out competitors.
"Whenever he's at practice, he puts all into it," Grady said. "Evan's not going to take short-cuts. Ninety-percent of them don't take short-cuts either. That's what it's going to take. All these kids are so successful."
Of the biking, running and swimming portions of a triathlon, Evan has his favorites.
"Swimming and running. The bikes, I don't like the bike much," Evan laughs. "It's not my best."
"He loves a whole lot of other sports. He's into baseball, football, basketball and swimming. A lot of what he does with tri training feeds into other sports too," Tarek said.
In addition to having fun, Evan admits staying focused is key.
"Training, hard work, putting time into it," Evan said.