Track & Field: Vista PEAK’s Maya Evans soaring above the rest

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Vista PEAK freshman Maya Evans stretches out during a jump at track & field practice on April 28, 2015, at Vista PEAK Prep. Evans has the top long jump of anybody in Colorado this season thus far with a leap of 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches, which also ranks her No. 1 in the country among freshmen according to Milesplit.com. She also ranks first in the country in the 100 meter dash among freshmen and has Class 4A's top time in the event. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Vista PEAK freshman Maya Evans stretches out during a jump at track & field practice on April 28, 2015, at Vista PEAK Prep. Evans has the top long jump of anybody in Colorado this season thus far with a leap of 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches, which also ranks her No. 1 in the country among freshmen according to Milesplit.com. She also ranks first in the country in the 100 meter dash among freshmen and has Class 4A’s top time in the event. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Though she’s just a freshman, Vista PEAK’s Maya Evans is a track & field veteran.

Coming from a family with deep roots, Evans has been running, jumping and excelling since she was six years old.

Now a ninth-grader, Evans has taken the prep track & field world by storm and could be in for a huge Class 4A state meet in a few weeks. Coming off the Liberty Invitational — an outstanding multi-classification meet — April 24-25, Evans is the highest-ranking freshman in the country in the 100 meter dash and the long jump.

“Track and long jump is my thing; I would never do any other sport because I think this can get me to college,” the soft-spoken Evans said. “I really enjoy it. The competition pushes me hard to become a better person.”

Vista PEAK's Maya Evans has taken the prep track & field world by storm as a freshman. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Vista PEAK’s Maya Evans has taken the prep track & field world by storm as a freshman. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Considering her path in track & field, Evans has no reason to stray from the sport she came to love in a family in which her mother, father and uncle competed. She already dreams to compete for Southern Cal in college.

According to national database Milesplit.com, Evans owns the top marks in the entire country for freshman in both the 100 meters and the long jump and she’s not far behind in the 200 meters.

She’s opened plenty of eyes thus far, including those of first-year Vista PEAK head coach Quinn Pack, who had just a small inkling of her potential.

“I knew that Maya was coming in as a freshman and I knew she was a special talent,” said Pack, a Masters Track competitor who had seen Evans at a few meets.

“I wasn’t aware of really how special she was going to turn out to be,” he added.

Evans seems to be most special in the long jump at this point early in her career. She has the top jump in the entire state, regardless of classification, of 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches, set on March 21 at the Runners Roost Invitational in Fort Collins.

To put that in perspective, only one girls long jumper in 5A went past 19 feet at last season’s state meet and that was Denver East’s Chyna Ries, a University of Texas signee, while the winning mark in 4A was just 17-3 3/4. Nobody in the 4A state meet has passed 19 feet since Widefield’s Nyeisha Wright hit 19-3 1/2 in 2006.

“I know my marks and I’m not moving back, so I just hit the board consistent,” Evans said.

Pack believes Evans has turned the corner as far as consistency and she’s going over 19 feet every time out now with bigger jumps out in front of her.

“Our main goal was to get her consistent, so we helped her make a few small changes to fine tune her approach,” he said. “We told her just stick with it and once you get it, you will stay in the 19s consistently.

Vista PEAK's Maya Evans, left, finished second in the 100 meter dash at the Liberty Bell Invitational with a time of 11.81 seconds that ranks No. 1 in Class 4A. She just lost to defending 5A state sprint champion Alleandra Watt of Pine Creek. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Vista PEAK’s Maya Evans, left, finished second in the 100 meter dash at the Liberty Bell Invitational with a time of 11.81 seconds that ranks No. 1 in Class 4A. She just lost to defending 5A state sprint champion Alleandra Watt of Pine Creek. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

“She’s got it now and we’re really hoping she’s going to push that envelope and get in the high 19s and maybe a good 20-foot jump before state.”

What’s been more surprising to Pack and the Vista PEAK coaching staff is Evans’ sprinting.

Her prowess was on full display April 25 in the finals of the 100 meters at the Liberty Bell, where she nearly beat Pine Creek senior star Alleandra Watt, the defending Class 5A state champion.

Clocking a time of 11.81 seconds that ranks No. 1 in 4A (and is faster than last season’s 4A winning state time of 12.19), Evans finished just behind Watt’s 11.70. It was a great chance for her to run against the 5A competition she won’t get to see at the state meet.

“I think it went very well, she pushed me a lot so I could get my time down,” Evans said. “I said ‘good job’ to her and she said ‘thanks, you too,” so that was pretty good for me.”

Evans also runs on the same club team with Cherokee Trail star Shayna Yon, who has signed with Louisiana State. Yon owns the top time in 5A in the 100 at 11.68 set at the Pomona Invitational and is also a standout long jumper.

“Maya has a competitor’s mentality and she’s been doing this since she was about 7 years old,” Pack said. “She’s very competitive and constantly wants to be out there running with and against the best.”

Evans presence has also helped spark a sharp rise for the Vista PEAK team, which has had its best season yet ahead of the Colorado 7 Championship meet May 2.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

JUMPING AHEAD FOR MAYA EVANS

AURORA | Vista PEAK freshman Maya Evans already has the top long jump in the state this season at 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches. Some marks she could take aim at in her final two meets, the Colorado 7 Championships and the Class 4A state meet and another that could be for the future (per CHSAA records):

4A state meet record: 20 feet, 3 inches — Griffin Matthew, Niwot, 2005

Colorado prep record: 21 feet, 3/4 inch — Chelsea Taylor, Montbello, 2005