A former state shot put champion from Christiansburg High School has been honored for an outstanding career in track and field at the College of William and Mary. This past weekend, a plaque was unveiled naming the shot-throwing circle at the college after Rochelle Evans.
“Having the shot circle named after me this past weekend was such an unimaginable and unexpected blessing ,” she said.
At Christiansburg, she was a six-time Virginia AA state indoor and outdoor champion. She won the indoor shot put as a sophomore and again as a junior, then winning both the shot put and the discus in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012, and was a high school all-American after finishing sixth in the national indoors meet in 2012.
That success has continued at William and Mary where she added the hammer to her events. As a freshman, she became a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champion in the shot put with a personal-best effort of 45-4.25 (13.82m) and also took fourth in the discus at 43.22m. She threw the discus a lifetime-best 43.36m (142-3) at the UVA Challenge to end the year and then had a season-best in the hammer throw at the CAA Championships, where she threw 38.91m (127-8).
In 2013, she was the runner-up at the CAA Championships in both the shot put and the discus. Last year in the the indoor season, she was named All-East in both the shot and the weight, after finishing eighth in both events and had a lifetime-best in the weight throw of 17.18m (56-4.5) in an meet at Virginia Tech.
In the outdoor season, she earned All-East honors in the shot put, after finishing seventh overall … and qualified in both the discus (12th) and hammer (15th). She was named All-CAA in all three throws and runner-up in both the shot and the hammer, and third in the discus. Evans set lifetime-bests in the shot (14.38m (47-2.25)) and the discus (46.14m (151-4)) at the CAA Championships.
Evans called her time in the circle as dynamic. “There has been a lot of growth and regrowth, highs and lows. My time in the circle has developed me as person, I have been pushed beyond my comfort zone, and I have discovered that I am stronger than I thought I was,” she said.
The All-American thrower feels it is hard to decide what her biggest accomplishment has been in her throwing career.
“I have been fortunate to have experienced so many amazing opportunities, but if I had to choose one, I would choose helping my team (Christiansburg High School) in becoming conference champions my freshman year. The team atmosphere at that meet was something I had never experienced in high school. By the end of that meet, I had won the shot put and placed in the discus,” she said
Looking back, Evans said, there was one thing she learned in high school that she carried with her through her career.
“Throwing is physical as well as mental. Having a bad attitude typically does not get you anywhere but stuck. Unfortunately, this is not a one-and-done type lesson, I have had to remind myself of this multiple times throughout my career,” she said.
For those following in her shoes at William and Mary, they will look to the nameplate and ask the story of Rochelle Evans. She will always be part of the shot putting circle at the school, and who knows there might be other young ladies from the New River Valley that follow the same path.
Evans will graduate with a degree in biology.