Aspen’s Evans to row at University of Kansas |

Aspen’s Evans to row at University of Kansas

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Katy Evans craved a change. This more than qualifies.

The recent Aspen High graduate, a four-year fixture on the Skiers’ volleyball and basketball teams, has decided to branch out as she prepares for college. Way out. Evans will join the University of Kansas’ rowing team in the fall.

She has no experience – save for the 30 minutes she spent on an indoor rower during a recruiting trip to Lawrence earlier this year.

“I’ve done zero rowing,” she joked Thursday. “This summer, I’m trying to prepare by being a raft guide [at Rock Gardens Rafting in Glenwood Springs]. I guess that’s rowing of some sort.

“It’s weird to change everything. I spent my whole life in two sports.”

The move is unusual, but it is hardly far-fetched. Evans’ older sister Jill went from playing volleyball, basketball and tennis in high school to rowing for Clemson University in South Carolina.

Evans considered pursuing volleyball and basketball at the college level – likely in Division III – but quickly changed course. After eight years spent playing both, she said she yearned for a fresh start and a new challenge.

Soon, at the advice of her sister, Evans contacted rowing programs at Clemson, Kansas and at Kansas State. After preliminary discussions with coaches at Kansas, a school her uncle and grandparents attended, she was invited to fly out in January. She toured the campus, attended a basketball game, participated in an athletic evaluation and met team members and fellow recruits.

“I got along with the team and the coaches really well and had a good time when I was there. … It seemed like a great fit,” Evans said. “The athletic department, as you can assume, is pretty amazing. The amount of time they put into athletes is incredible.”

Evans said she was not expecting anything to come out of the visit. The call from the rowing team’s head coach and subsequent offer of a partial athletic scholarship caught her completely off guard.

“It’s crazy. … This is something I’ve never done,” she said. “He said this is really hard, so [the scholarship] is kind of like a bribe. He told me, ‘We want you to be on the team, and this is a way to keep you here.'”

What can she expect when she steps foot on campus Aug. 15? After two months spent learning the fundamentals of the sport, Evans will dive right in to rigorous team workouts, which routinely last four to five hours a day, she said.

Preparations are already underway.

“They sent me a package of things to do this summer – I don’t know how to do half of it,” she joked. “There’s a lot of running, a lot of lifting. … I’m not used to lifting routines at all. The whole time in the weight room in high school was spent doing some jump training.

“[My sister told me] just to be prepared, to go into it in shape. … She said she had an amazing experience.”

That is just what Evans is seeking.

“I’m a little nervous about it. … It’s going to be a change and going to be hard,” she added. “But I wanted something different, and this sure is different, right? … I’m starting something new now and I’m really excited.”

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