Evan Graves enters the Hall of Fame as one of the most accomplished runners to lace up his shoes at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. As a four year member of the Cross Country team, he finished in the top 3 of an event a staggering 22 times, including 14 1st place finishes. His work ethic and dedication to the sport he loved set an example for his teammates, and led to increased success each year he competed.
Growing up, sports played a large role in Evan’s life. Before his time at UMPI, Evan attended Mount Desert Island High School where he was a four sport athlete. He excelled in track and basketball, the two sports he played every year, was a three year cross country runner, and even played football for one season.
Upon his arrival in Presque Isle however, Evan shifted all of his focus and energy to one sport: Cross Country. That concentrated vision and focus led to almost immediate success. In just his second race as a collegiate athlete, Evan finished in 2nd place at the University of New England Invitational. He followed that up with another 2nd place finish at the UMPI Invitational. As his freshman season continued on, the distance of the races may have varied, but Evan’s performance remained strong and steady, culminating in his first 1st place finish at the U-Maine Farmington Invitational. That chilly October day Evan posted a time of 26:58, his best 8K time to that point in his career. Times like that led to Evan being able to compete in the NAIA Region X Championships (where he would finish 6th) and the NAIA National Championships (where he finished 179th out of 236). At the end of the season, the freshman was recognized as an NAIA Region 10 All-Region team.
In 2000, Evan was charged with the tall task of attempting to match or even surpass such a stellar rookie campaign. But that’s exactly what he did. He jumped from one 1st place finish as a freshman to three as a sophomore. Included in those three wins was a second straight top finish at the U-Maine Farmington Invitational. The later in the season it got, the better Evan was. He improved his finish at the NAIA Region 10 Championships from a 6th to a 3rd. At the NAIA National Championships, Evan jumped from 179th the year before to 66th (out of 245). After the season, he was named the Maine Athletic Conference (MAC) “Runner of the Year”.
If Evan’s career were a sundae, his junior season was the cherry on top. In the eight events that Evan ran in prior to the end of the season NAIA National Championships, he won 5, finished 2nd in two others, and never placed lower than 5th. At the national championships, he again improved his time and place for a 3rd straight year finishing in 62nd place with a time of 26:41. His efforts were recognized with his 2nd MAC “Runner of the Year”.
As solid of junior season as he had, Evan still managed to sprinkle in a few “exclamation points” during his senior year. He won the UMPI Invitational for the 3rd consecutive year. He won the U-Maine Farmington Invitational for a 4th straight year, finishing his career having never lost that event. At the end of the season the conference may have changed, as UMPI had moved to the Sunrise Conference, but the awards did not as Evan was once again named the conference “Player of the Year”.
Since graduating, Evan has competed in many marathons including the: New York City, Twin Cities, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia (3rd Place – 2:24:38, Personal Record), Hartford (3rd Place) and Manchester City (1st Place). He also has raced in the Bar Harbor Half Marathons, finishing in 1st place Fall 2004 – Fall 2007 and 2nd place in Fall 2008. In October of 2008, Evan finished in 1st place at the Maine Marathon and Half Marathon.
Professionally, Evan began his teaching career in Physical Education/Health at East Grand School, then taught in the Easton School Department and is currently teaching at Caribou High School. Evan has coaching experience in varsity girls basketball and soccer, nordic skiing, cross country and track. Presently, he is the assistant nordic ski coach at Caribou High School, cross country coach and assistant track coach at Caribou Middle School. Evan was a member of the MAHPERD Board of Directors and also served four years as the treasurer of the Aroostook Musterds Running Club.
Besides being an educator and coach, Evan believes in giving back to the community by presenting group talks on fitness and nutrition, volunteering his time for nordic cross country races and biathlons, marathons (when not participating in them) and camps for running and fitness. Just recently, he completed his Masters in Educational Leadership through the University of Maine. Evan also enjoys photography, hiking, biking and yard work. He and his wife, Erin, also a graduate of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, reside in Caribou, Maine with their baby daughter, Emma and Mister, the family dog.
(Inducted on September 24th, 2011)