Girls' track: York Tech's Evans has high hopes
The coach and athlete can both laugh about it now.
In her freshman year at York County School of Technology, Kirstyn Evans quit the track team before the end of the season. Coach Bradley Snell wanted her to branch out beyond jumping events, and Evans didn't see herself as a runner — or at least not a middle-distance runner.
"He wanted me to run the (3,200 relay)," Evans said with a laugh. "I just thought, 'I'm not going back.'"
By the end of her sophomore season, after she had returned to the track team and qualified for the state meet, she remembers looking back to the season before with regret.
"I thought, 'Why did I quit last season?'" Evans said. "I could have made it all the way."
Although she relies on coaches to fix what might look wrong, she has never had an assistant coach who specialized in the high jump.
"She just kind of came out and did it," Snell said about Evans. "She's tall and thin, just a natural at it. ... A lot of what she's done is self-taught."
Evans owns the school record in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 6 inches.
Track became yet another sport where she could compete. She plays volleyball and basketball. But track was different. She can score points in triple jump and long jump, but she is a potential state contender in the high jump.
"There's a mental toughness she has developed over the years that she needs to have," Snell said.
She reached the state meet in the high jump as a sophomore, and she won her first league championship in the high jump last season as a junior. But she also experienced a letdown at the District 3 meet, placing fifth but failing to qualify for the state meet.
"My body just started to shut down," Evans said.
With her legs aching, she earned a medal but not a spot in the PIAA championships.
"She had a great (league) championship; the district meet just wasn't her day," Snell said. "She fouled a lot. It just wasn't her day, and that happens.
"That's tough because, unlike a runner that maybe can wait until the next meet, a jumper has to refocus in a matter of few minutes," Snell said.
Accepted at IUP, Evans said she thinks that is where she will end up next fall. Whether she plays a sport, and what sport, is still up in the air.
Snell said he thinks Evans has the talent and toughness to finish in the top eight at the state meet. He would love to see her continue her track career in college. But only Evans can make that decision.
"When it comes to volleyball or basketball or track," Snell said, "it might come down to if you love something, you love something."
Evans added: "I do love basketball, but I do love volleyball, too."
The one thing track has always given her, though, is that sensation she feels when she clears the bar.
"I like the rush of it," she said. "Making it over the pole feels amazing."
Division I: Central York, Dallastown and Red Lion
Division II: Eastern York
Division III: Delone Catholic