Evans signs to compete with Matadors
Triple jumper previously attended Vanden High
Vallejo High triple jumper Sameerah Evans has seen plenty of big leaps in her track and field career, but the one she made Thursday afternoon will land her nearly 400 miles away.
In a ceremony in front of family, coaches, teammates and friends at Bottari Gym’s entrance, Evans signed a letter of intent to study and compete in track and field at Cal State Northridge, a Division I school in Southern California.
The 17-year-old Evans, who previously attended Vanden High until her senior year, was all smiles after officially becoming a Matador.
“I was very nervous but also relieved today,” Evans said. “I had been stressing about where I wanted to go to college but I’m glad I made the right choice for me.”
Evans said she visited the campus last week and loved the “family feeling” and the coaches on the staff, including jump coach Vanitta Kinard.
“I loved all the coaches from the second I stepped on campus for the first time. They made it feel like home for me,” Evans said. “Basically I want to go beyond college with my career. I want to go beyond the nationals and into the Olympics. I have big goals and the coaches told me it will take time to get there, but they would help me find my way.”
Although Evans has competed in hurdles for a few years at Vanden, last year was the first year she gave the triple jump a try and she immediately took a liking to it after seeing an athlete from a Georgia school excel in it. Evans talked to the girl and decided she could have the same kind of success. Now she says it’s her “bread and butter event.”
She’s not wrong. This year in a meet at Arcadia High, she leaped 39 feet, 3 inches, good enough for an all-time Vallejo High girls record, it the event had been a sanctioned one. Evans said that her 11-year-career in gymnastics helped prepare her for a career in the triple jump.
“The easiest part of learning the triple jump was getting the rhythm down and gymnastics helped me with that,” the Redhawks’ senior said. “The hardest part was perfecting the technique and trying to do all of this at a very high level.”
Mike Wilson, Vallejo High’s track and field head coach, was thrilled to see Evans move on to the next level athletically and stressing even more, academically.
“It’s always a pleasure to have a student athlete move on,” Wilson said while making quotation mark symbols with his hands on the word “student.” “I say student, because you need that student part to make it work.”
“She has no fear of working. She works hard, too hard and it’s paid off,” Wilson continued. “Last couple of weeks she’s been to Fresno State, UC Davis, UCLA, San Jose State, so the schools were just piling in. Normally when you this happens you sign a letter of intent, a contract to the school and after that, you belong to them. What’s great about this is that this is a fullride scholarship and you don’t see that as much anymore from colleges. These days its usually a partial or a quarter of a scholarship. So we’re very proud of her.”
Vallejo High senior Sameerah Evans (right) signs a letter of intent to compete in track and field and study at Cal State Northridge while her mother looks on.