Evan Jager is an animal. Wild blonde mane blowing behind him as he charges down the home stretch, to watch Evan Jager run is to watch a lion dominating the track. This animal is at home, ruling the terrain he was he was born for.
“We really got spoiled with Evan, and we [Jerry and I] both acknowledge that and realize it’s unlikely to ever happen again with another athlete learning the event so fast,” shares Bowerman Track Club steeplechase coach, Pascal Dobert. “He’s very coachable and extremely talented, and that’s a lethal combination.” Though don’t be fooled, a genetic predisposing for greatness is utterly useless without the work ethic to match. To truly rule one must also possess a ferocious drive.
Jager showed right away that he was fast, no question there; he’d thrown himself in amongst the best straight out of high school. With teammates like Chris Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp, and Simon Bairu pushing the pace, it was a matter of survival. Undaunted, Jager eagerly chose to one-up survival and thrive, immediately making two IAAF World Championship teams and turning professional between that time.
When Jager first debuted in the steeplechase in 2012, his 8:26 was shockingly superb. Still, some questioned the reasoning behind him making the move. The steeplechase has progressed exponentially over the past decades, but at the same time one could argue that Jager possessed just as much ability to win the more ‘media-hyped’ flat distances. What those left wondering didn’t know was what Jager’s coaches, Jerry Schumacher and Dobert knew. More correctly what they’d already seen in practice. Jager could win in a given flat race, he could dominate in a steeple race. Jager gave the media a reason to draw focus to the steeple.