Evan Bare likes to have fun, and he’s pretty superstitious.
The Manchester Valley High School senior has a quirky habit he upholds at every track meet that makes him stand out — his socks.
“I go to these meets and everyone is in their uniforms and the referees are usually stingy about the uniforms matching your school colors, but the only issue they don’t have is on socks,” Bare said. “It’s a good feeling if I go out, do really well and win wearing socks with penguins or other random stuff on them.”
Bare has quite a collection of these interesting footwear, and he said he even has a pair with Spam on them.
His favorite pair, however, came custom made from his girlfriend, Sarah. These particular socks have her face printed on them, and Bare said he wore them at last year’s Class 3A track and field state meet at Morgan State University, where he took fifth place in shot put and 14th in discus.
Not that Bare is only known for wearing odd socks — he’s one of the top throwers in the region.
His performance Jan. 5 at the Kevin Dare Invitational (47 feet, 2.25 inches) at Penn State is the state’s ninth best heave this winter, according to the latest Maryland high school rankings from athletic.net.
Bare won the shot title Dec. 8 at the Terry Baker Invite in Hagerstown at 43-10.25, and took third at the Frostbite Invite (44-11) on Dec. 21.
Last Friday, he placed third in the shot at the Sub Zero Invite in Essex (44-6).
He captured the shot put county title at last year’s indoor county meet with a throw of 49-4.5 — good for a personal record. Former Westminster thrower Brendan Morales has the county indoor meet record at 53-8.5.
Bare won the 3A West regional shot put title in 2018, and capped his junior campaign with a third-place finish at the state meet (46-9.25).
Bare took second in shot put and fourth in discus at the 2018 outdoor track county meet, and followed those performances with a second regional title in shot and another fourth-place finish in discus.
When Bare was a freshman, the coaching staff at the time tried to make him into a runner. However, it didn’t take long for Bare to realize how much he enjoyed throwing heavy objects more so than running.
Bare finished fourth in shot put at the indoor county meet during his sophomore year with a throw of 38-9.5. He qualified for the 3A West meet and finished seventh. He also took fifth in shot and eighth in discus at the outdoor county meet that year, and qualified for regionals in both events.
Man Valley track coach Jim MacDonald described Bare as someone who molds a positive combination of what it takes to be a solid athlete.
“It didn’t take long to recognize what Evan means to this team and their accomplishments,” MacDonald said. “He is, by far, the hardest working individual in the weight room and he spends most of his time in there — he works harder than anyone and he’s a great role model for the other kids.”
Shot put, Bare said, should be about 75 percent technique with the remaining 25 percent relying on strength. His coach, Bryan Evans, has been working with Bare since he was a sophomore and he breaks down the technique with him at every practice.
He got stronger as his practice progressed and football has also helped. Bare has been a member of the varsity football team at Man Valley for four years.
“My strength is another factor,” Bare said. “When my technique is lacking, my strength gets me there.”
Bare has personal goals for his senior season and he built a shot put pit for himself in his backyard, a project he said took about a month’s worth of work.
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“I’ll throw at the school and lift at the school, or if I don’t have practice I’ll throw at my house or Four Seasons,” Bare said, referring to the complex in Hampstead. “Whatever I can’t do here, I’ll do it there to make sure I get all my practice in.”