Kristin Chapman won three state titles in the high jump during her time at Campbell County High School.
On Friday, she added another honor to her long list of accolades as she took the top spot in the high jump during East Tennessee State University’s Atlantic-Sun Conference championships.
“First of all, she’s at a D-I school,” Campbell County track coach Billie Anne Evans said. “As a freshman, I think it’s a great accomplishment, because I feel like she’s had to overcome some hurdles. As a freshman, you’re a little timid and you don’t know what to expect.”
However, on Friday, she jumped her highest jump of her collegiate career with a leap over 5-foot-7.
On the track, Chapman didn’t know she’d won.
“When everyone was done jumping, I had no clue I’d won,” Chapman said. “My teammates kept saying to me, ‘I think you won.’ I didn’t believe them, because the other two girls went out on the same height I did. They announced that I’d won over the speakers, and I was so shocked.”
Charlene Charles, a senior from Jacksonville, and Michelle Quimby, a senior from Kennesaw State, had also cleared 5-7.
However, Chapman had cleared the height on her first jump, while Charles and Quimby each used two attempts.
The freshman had also cleared the next height, 5-8 3/4, but clipped the bar with her foot.
Her single attempt at 5-7 was enough to propel her to the top spot on the podium.
“Everyone was excited,” she said. “They all ran up and hugged me.”
However, it hasn’t been an easy season for the Campbell County High alum.
During her first meet at East Tennessee State, she only managed to clear 5-1.
“That had to be a wake up call,” Evans said. “She hasn’t jumped 5-1, probably since middle school. Literally, in middle school, she was jumping 5-4.”
A change in her steps, along with a change in venue had slowed the three-time state champion.
However, as season full of work put her in position to take the top honors.
The experience of standing at the highest spot during the awards ceremony was one Chapman might become used to at ETSU.
“It was a great experience, because that was what I have been working for the whole semester,” she said.
She didn’t do it alone, she continued.
According to Chapman, Evans has been behind her throughout her entire track and field career.
“Mrs. Evans was my coach for seven years: my only high jump coach,” Chapman said. “She taught me everything I know.”
Although Chapman no longer jumps for Campbell County, Evans still helps her in her jumping career.
“If I have a questions, I will call or text her,” the freshman said. “At the meet, when I jumped, I would look at her in the stands, and she would be telling me what I did wrong.”
Throughout the season, Evans sent encouraging text messages to Chapman with phrases such as, “Don’t give up,” “Hang in there,” “You can do this,” and “Keep working hard.”
During Chapman’s high school career, Evans and Anne Browning came up with a saying for her that usually worked.
“Do what you do best. Always remember to do what you do best.”
That quote has since carried over to ETSU, as Evans still supports the high jumper.
“In all the frustrations she’s had with coaching and jumping, she’s got to remember that she’s got the potential and to do what she does best,” Evans said. “She can keep setting her goals higher and going for those goals.”
To Evans, however, it was Chapman that has instilled more into Evans. Over those seven years, Evans says she knows Krisin, not only as an athlete, but also as a person.
“I feel very blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of Kristin’s career,” Evans said. “It was one that most coaches only dream of. Most people do not know how hard she has worked to get where she is.”