In order to get faster on land and through the air, 100-meter hurdler Carmen Evans took to the water.
Partly because she had never been injury free, and partly because of the background of her hurdles coach, Linda Lanker, the Valley Christian School star at times did water training at Sta-Fit Athletic Club.
Lanker, who assists the Valley Christian program, had Evans do intervals, knee lifts, kicks and run laps in the club’s swimming pool.
“It was amazing,” said Evans. “After three weeks I came out and ran my best time.”
Water training is only part of the reason Evans’s times have dropped two seconds over the last two years.
Orthotics have helped cure an assortment of injuries that included achilles tendinitis and chronic shin splints the previous three years.
Lanker’s workouts enabled her to reduce the number of steps between hurdles from five to three.
“I’ll never forget the smile on her face once she started three stepping,” said Lanker. “When she did, she dropped from the low 17 seconds to the low 16s consistently.”
Last year, Evans finished fourth in state at 16.03. This year she’s improved to 15.6 which at last report led Class B athletes.
“She was so jacked when she heard the time,” said Panther head coach Don Dicus, “she was crying.”
On Friday, Evans will be favored when Valley Christian athletes participate in state qualifying at the Northeast B District meet in Colville.
She is also an integral part of two state-potential relay teams and has one of the state’s best Class B 100 meter times as well.
Evans began hurdling for then-coach Bill Berg in the sixth grade.
“I always liked them, it was a challenge,” the Valley Christian senior said.
Lanker, who said she ran the intermediate hurdles internationally while at Arizona State, was recruited to help Valley Christian’s program by Berg’s successor, Brent Harken.
“The main thing is I saw she had the speed,” said Lanker, who moved here four years ago with her husband and family from San Diego. “Without speed, forget the hurdles.”
Evans lowered her 100 time from around 14 seconds to 12.6 and improved her hurdles technique under Lanker’s watchful eye.
“What really helped was her telling me where my lead and trailing leg should be,” Evans said.
So far this year she’s been injury-free and the results speak for themselves. Evans attended Christian Heritage school until fourth grade when her father, Wes, became Valley Christian School’s administrator.
A four-year, three-sport letter winner, she was the team’s scoring leader last winter in basketball.
The wear of year-around athletics, admitted Evans, has her ready for a break, although she will miss the family atmosphere at Valley Christian. She wants to travel and spend more time riding horses on the family farm.
Not before she completes her track career in two more weeks with a shot at a state title.
“I’ve been doing this thing, predicting times,” said Lanker, who also helps train CV’s Whitney Schmaljohn, “and so far it’s worked.”
Her prediction for Evans is 15.2. It’s a time that would be hard to catch, in the water or on land.
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