Columbus High School senior Johnathan Evans, known as J.T., tried out for the track and field team last year for the first time and went to the state finals. His events are pole vaulting and the 4×100 relays.
“My brother pole vaulted two years before me,” Evans says. “The coach started talking to me in the halls. It turned out pretty well.”
Despite being a rookie, Evans took part in the pole vaulting event at the state tournament.
“I’m not that good, but I went,” he says. “As a team, we got second overall.”
Evans runs to keep in shape and, as a result, the coaches asked him to run the 400- yard relays. He took part in the district tournament, but not state event.
“I ran just to stay in shape. I was mostly interesting in pole vaulting,” Evans says. “It just turned out that they asked me to run.”
He expects to do even better when track season comes around again. He expects to be able to jump 13-fee-6-inches this year.
Pole vaulting was quite a change for a teen who played baseball for years. He played for years in the Howard Palmetto Baseball Softball Association and at Columbus during his freshman year.
He says he went from two baseball games a day to jumping eight hours at a time.
“The meets would be eight to 10 hours. You sit in the sun all day and you get tired,” he says.
One of the positive side affects of switching sports is being introduced to new people.
“I made a lot of new friends when I switched from baseball to track.” he says.
Through Columbus baseball, he earned community service house by volunteering at Grapeland Heights Park in the City of Miami. He and his team members kept statistics for the youth baseball league that played at the park. The baseball team also directed traffic at the Homestead Speedway.
He also participated in Patriots Outreach, a program to collect sports equipment for needy kids in the Dominican Republic. He helped gather the equipment at Suniland Park.
Evans also has earned hours tutoring fellow students through the National Honor Society. The Columbus NHS also has a Big Brother program for the younger students.
“We help them with anything that we need,” he says. “We pretty much become friends with them. We tell them to be active in the school, play sports and join clubs.”
Evans is also active in the history club. Club members posted flyers around the school to promote Hispanic heritage month.
“We have speakers coming to the school and most recently we had an EOD, explosive ordinance disposal, the person who goes in and disarms bombs,” he says. “We also had a guy from the peace corps.”
Evans’ future includes college and probably the military. He has applied to the University of Florida, Florida State University, Tulane and the University of Central Florida.
“I’m probably going to enroll in ROTC,” he says. “I don’t want to do anything boring. I want to do something interesting that I feel has meaning.”
Evans says he could pole vault in college, but since he’s strong academically he would prefer to go to a good academic institution.