Montana senior Sammy Evans was named the Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Week for women’s field events on Monday. It was the second Athlete of the Week award of the indoor season for Evans, a four-time Big Sky champion and three-event school record holder.
Evans was recognized for winning the triple jump on Saturday at the Washington Invitational in Seattle with an effort of 41 feet, 5 inches, which was just off her indoor school record of 41-8.5.
No other jumper in the Big Sky has gone even 39 feet this winter.
Through five of six jumps on Saturday, Evans, with a top mark of 39-5, was sitting in fourth place. Among those ahead of her were Andrea Geubelle, a former three-time NCAA champion for Kansas, and Marisa Kwiatkowski of Stanford.
“The reason I like that meet is because there is competition,” said Evans. “I was in fourth, which is pretty rare for me for most of the meets we go to. I didn’t know what other people were jumping. I just knew I had to jump bigger than what I was doing.
“You automatically get pumped up. Even if you don’t know what everyone else is jumping, you know they’re jumping far. I definitely had some adrenaline at the back of the runway.”
On her final attempt, Evans moved into first place. The best mark of the day for Geubelle, who has gone 46 feet in her career and was competing for the first time since representing the U.S. at the Summer Olympics in Rio, was 41-3. The third-place mark was 40-5.5.
“A lot of times at those meets, you don’t get the competitive back-and-forth that you get at a conference championship, because the importance of where you place really isn’t there,” said UM jumps coach Adam Bork.
“But you could see some of the jumpers were getting more competitive in their last couple of attempts and bringing more intensity.”
It was the 10th time in her career Evans, whose outdoor school record is 42-0.75, has jumped farther than 41 feet at a meet and gave her a shot of I’ve still got it confidence.
Evans jumped 41-7 at the Candy Cane Invitational at Eastern Washington in early December. For health reasons she had to scratch out of the triple jump at Montana State on Jan. 13. A week later, also at Bozeman, she jumped a pedestrian — for her anyway — 39-1.25.
“The most important part of the meet for Sammy was for her to know she’s back and is going to pick up where she left off and do that consistently now,” said Bork.
Evans will sit out this week’s meet at Moscow, Idaho, then rejoin the team when it travels to Pocatello, Idaho, for the Mountain States Games on Feb. 10-11 at Idaho State.
Two weeks after that she will be back in Pocatello, going for her third Big Sky indoor triple jump title and trying to duplicate the long jump title she won at last spring’s outdoor championships.
To make nationals, which will be held the second weekend of March at College Station, Texas, Evans will need to add another 18 inches to what she jumped on Saturday.
The cut to make indoor nationals last year was 43 feet even.
“Sammy is capable of doing that if she’s feeling 100 percent,” said Bork. “She was close to a school record last weekend, and she wasn’t anywhere near where she will be with the adrenaline she’ll have at conference and with three more weeks of training and jumping.”