(Editor's note: Montana athletics press release.)
MISSOULA — Evan Todd has been named the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week in the Big Sky Conference following a dominant performance in the javelin this weekend in Pocatello, the league announced Monday afternoon.
The junior from Kalispell is the reigning Big Sky champion in the event and had the top throw in the Big Sky this season on Friday. He won the Bengal invitational with a season-best mark of 226-7. The meet win was the fifth of the season for Todd, who has been improving on a consistent basis this outdoor season.
“It means a lot,” Todd said. “I’m not really surprised, I said I was going to keep climbing the ladder and that’s just what I did the rest of the season. There’s no end in sight, I just have to keep going forward.”
It may have been an expectation for Todd to continue in this direction, but that doesn’t downplay the weekly award’s impact. As the season winds to an end with the Big Sky Conference meet upcoming on May 10-13, every team in the league was putting their best foot forward last weekend.
“Not only is it a big deal to win that award any week, but to do it for this past weekend just makes it even more important,” head coach Doug Fraley said. “It’s really the final weekend for all teams in the conference to compete hard and so every great athlete in our conference was competing this weekend. For him to be able to do it on a weekend like that where everybody was going hard just tells you what an outstanding performance it is.”
It came against a field that featured five of the top seven throwers in the Big Sky Conference. The tough competition makes the win, and the fact that he cleared second place by more than 12 feet, all the more impressive. In fact, even the worst of Todd’s six throws on Friday (217-8) would have still been enough to win the meet.
It’s that consistency in his performance that stands out to Fraley. A big throw can get you to the regional meet, but in order to advance you need to be able to hit your number time after time. The top 48 in each region advance to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. From there, 12 athletes from the east and 12 from the west will move on to the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas based on the distances at the regional meet.
“Any time your level of consistency is that high going into the postseason, it really bodes well,” Fraley said. “You’re not always going to get in and throw a personal best in championship meets, so the higher your average is, that is really what you can depend on at those meets. He has put himself in a great position to go and compete for a conference championship and also to be able to go to the west regionals and have a legitimate shot at qualifying for nationals because of that consistency.”
The mark of 226-7 leads the Big Sky and ranks 14th in the NCAA’s west region. Todd will now set his sights on defending the Big Sky Conference Championship. He won last season with a mark of 224-10, and finished fourth as a freshman with a throw of 208-8.
Last season, Todd threw a career best 229-2 early in the season to make regionals. He entered his second-ever regional meet as a top 10 thrower in the west, but came up short of a trip to the national meet by recording a throw of 205-0 in Fayetteville.
This year, Todd opened the season with a throw of 213-9 and has improved upon that mark in four out of five meets. The lessons he learned last year, where his marks were scattered from the 229-2 all the way down in the low 200s, have helped him improve in his junior season.
“I think (consistency) has been my biggest focus,” Todd said. “In years past, I’ve been a little up-and-down riding the roller coaster. I think this year I’ve just put a lot of effort into finding positions and making it easy for me to get those feelings down. Just being comfortable and hitting those positions every single throw.”
This is the second time Todd has earned a Big Sky Athlete of the Week award. He was also honored in 2022 following his career-best throw of 229-2 won him the Al Manuel Invitational in Missoula. He is the first Grizzly to win the award this season.
It’s just the start for Todd, who has his eyes on much more than just Big Sky Athlete of the Week. After the Big Sky Championships, he will head to Sacramento for the NCAA West Regionals on May 24-27.
“I just have to rest up and keep doing what I’m doing, do my best to stay healthy and keep taking care of my body, and then go do what I’m capable of,” Todd said.