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Annual middle school race in Herriman provides heartwarming moment for two students

Posted at 9:10 PM, May 23, 2024

HERRIMAN, Utah — Students at Copper Mountain Middle School got to put on their running shoes and take part in the "Running of the Colts" race around the school.

The one-mile race saw more than 180 students participate.

It also provided a remarkable story and moment for two seventh graders at the school.

Rykien Evans and Nate Wegwitz friendship formed this school year.

"He was playing Taylor Swift a little too loud on his headphones and I told him, you should probably turn that down if you don't want to get caught and that's how we met," said Evans.

That friendship has continued to blossom.

"We always stay with each other at lunch usually when we have the same lunch," said Evans.

Both Evans and Wegwitz told FOX 13 News on Thursday that they had been planning on running in their schools annual race for a quite some time.

"It just sounded interesting and people always talk about how this thing is like a car, my wheelchair and how it's like so fast, so me and Nate just decided to show them that it is fast," said Evans.

Evans has Arthrogryposis. It's a condition that has left him in a wheelchair and led to more than 20 surgeries during his life.

When the race got going on Thursday, Evans and Wegwitz were determined to make it to the finish line.

"We ran into some issues," said Evans. "There is a little bit of like a divot and my wheelchair kind of got stuck right there."

However, Wegwitz was right by his side the entire way. Whether it was walking with Evans or even giving him a well deserved lift.

"I asked him if it was ok first and he was fine with it, so, I just went with it," said Wegwitz.

Wegwitz would put Evans back in his wheelchair and ultimately push him the rest of the way

"I love that Rykien has somebody who would think of him in that way to want to share that experience with him," said Angela Thompson, Copper Mountain Middle School PE Chair.

FOX 13 News shared the pictures from the race with Thompson.

"You are going to make me cry that is not okay, but that is impressive, I just love that he did that," Thompson said.

Both Wegwitz and Rykien also got to see the heartwarming moments that were captured.

"It was exciting for sure," said Evans.

While they didn't finish first, both Evan and Wegwitz received medals for their participation in the annual race, leaving school on Thursday with plenty of memories.

"It was really, really great to do it with, with Rykien," said Wegwitz.

"It's all about like teamwork and friendship when it comes to stuff like this and luckily, I have super good friends that will help me with anything I need," Evans added.

Thompson says the "Running of the Colts" race has been held every year, since the school opened 11 years ago.