Evans signs to com­pete with Mata­dors

Triple jumper pre­vi­ously at­tended Van­den High

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Gase tgase@timesher­al­don­line.com @tga­sevth on Twit­ter

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.”

THOMAS GASE — TIMES-HER­ALD

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.

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