WAXHAW, NC – The road to achieving your dreams is not easy, but it is a well-worn path distinguished by hard work, dedication, and motivation. Evan and Avery Pardue are two siblings who have achieved the first of many goals this past year through extensive training and perseverance. Evan won first place in the 400-meter dash and third place in the 200-meter dash at the Amateur Teen Olympics in Jacksonville, Florida. Avery won the AAU Taekwondo Nationals in Las Vegas and achieved a spot on the AAU Junior National Team for her work in sparring and combat.
Evan Pardue is a bright, confident fourteen-year-old who attends Monroe’s Union Academy Charter School. His sport is track and field, and he has been training since he was in sixth grade. Evan is also a member of a club track and field team called Elite Track and Field, with which he went to the Junior Olympics. That experience was one of the toughest he has faced. There were two days of waiting in lines for up to 10 hours before being checked in, and the competition was fierce. Nevertheless, Evan entered the Junior Olympics with his best time of 52:05 in the 400 and beat that by placing first with a time of 51:16. He was shocked when he won and was extremely grateful to his parents and coaches for their support.
Evan plans to continue with track and field through high school and endeavors to play in college. He will be starting indoor track soon with Elite Track and Field and plans to try the 400-meter hurdles with Union Academy in the Spring. Evan gains his inspiration and drive to keep pushing for better from Matthew Boling, a gold-medalist in track and field specializing in sprints and long jumps. Evan’s running style is similar to Boling’s, and he hopes to continue to improve to Boling’s high standards.
Avery Pardue is 16 years old and attends CATA (The Central Academy of Technology and Arts) in Monroe. She trained with WOW Taekwondo in Waxhaw for several years and is currently training with Achieve Martial Arts in Matthews. Avery specializes in sparring and combat. She trains 5 to 6 days per week and sought out any available tournaments during the COVID pandemic. She is a black belt and won the AAU Taekwondo Nationals in the 16-17-year-old and 49 kg group in combat. This was a big win for Avery, who had always placed but never taken the top spot. With her win, hard work, and dedication, she earned a spot on the AAU Junior National Team to represent the United States in international meets.
Avery plans to continue with Taekwondo through high school and into college, aiming to be in the Olympics one day. Intelligent, friendly, and fiercely determined, she is sure to achieve her goals. Avery admits that when she started Taekwondo at six years old, she was a timid child who tended to be shy. However, Taekwondo gave her the confidence to become more outgoing and the discipline to train and achieve her goals in both martial arts and life. She highly recommends that parents of children who may be shy try Taekwondo, which was a huge catalyst in her growth as a young woman.
Both Evan and Avery are hard-working, vibrant, dedicated, and confident. They attribute their success to motivation and determination and encourage all kids to set goals and work towards them step by step. Avery gets her inspiration from her parents: her mom, who runs every day, and her dad, who works out without fail. She states that self-motivation is essential because you need that internal drive to push you forward on the days when you least feel like training. It is necessary to work hard, not only for your coaches and parents but for yourself. She loves the friends she’s made and her experiences due to her training in Taekwondo. Evan adds that it is essential to push yourself past your comfort zone and train with people who are better in the sport than you. This will make you work your hardest and increase your skillset. “Eventually, if you keep training at high levels, you too will be the best,” Evan commented. The siblings are grateful to their parents and coaches for their unwavering support and inspiration to continue motivating themselves to reach for the stars.