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East County Athlete of the Week: Kevin Gyurka

The Out-of-Door Academy sophomore boys cross country runner is ranked 26th in Class 1A by

ODA boys cross country sophomore Kevin Gyurka.
ODA boys cross country sophomore Kevin Gyurka.
Courtesy image
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Kevin Gyurka is a sophomore on The Out-of-Door Academy boys cross country and track and field teams. According to, Gyurka is ranked 26th in the Florida High School Athletic Association's Class 1A for cross country. Gyurka set his personal best time of 16:25.75 at the 2023 North Port Invitational on Sept. 22 at North Port High. 

When did you start running?

I started running for real during seventh grade. That's when I started training with Coach (Jay) Roper during the offseason. But in elementary school I played soccer and did some running events for school, and that's what got me to try track and field in middle school. 

What is the appeal to you?

On a longer run, you can think about whatever you want. It calms me down if I'm stressed about something. When you run with a partner or a teammate, you can talk to them. It's just a fun way to relax and get rid of stress. 

What is your preference between cross country and track and field?

I'm still experimenting in track and field, but for now I would say cross country. As a team, you're more together. Track is separated between the sprinters and the distance runners and the field athletes. I also like having the different terrains in cross country. I like that the race always changes. 

What is your favorite memory?

My first race in middle school. I was representing Pinnacle Racing. I ran a 3K in 10:15 and won my division. That was so fun. 

What are your goals for this season?

As a team, we want to get on the Class 1A podium at states. I think we have a chance and it would be good for our program. For me, I want to get under 16 minutes. Hopefully I will get there in a few weeks if I trust my coaches and my training. 

What is your favorite food?

I love my mom's (Andrea Wurst) chicken noodle soup. Anything she makes is great. 

What is your favorite movie?

I have loved the "Cars" series of movies since I was a kid. 

What is your favorite school subject?

Normally it is science, because I like both the class and the people in the class, but if there's a math lesson that I understand well, I love that feeling too. 

Which superpower would you pick?

Super strength, just so I could help out around the house more. 

What is the best advice you have received?

Never back down. Never give up. That's good advice for anyone. You sometimes feel like you're going to fail, but you always have something else to give. Push yourself and get there. 

Finish this sentence: "Kevin Gyurka is …"

Fun. I go out with friends a lot. I talk a lot. I'm active. I think it fits. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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