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  • James Townsend

Evan Bower to throw for Olivet Nazarene University

Portland High School senior Evan Bower signed recently to participate as a thrower for Olivet Nazarene University next year.

Bower competed in both track and in football in his four years at Portland. In track, he was selected as All Conference 2021 and 2022, and was named to Playmakers Greater Lansing Honor Roll for 2022. In football he was selected All Conference 2021 and 2022, and both All Region and All County in 2022.

When asked about his choice to attend this school, Bower said, “One of the most important things to me is my faith so ONU being an actively Christian school was very appealing to me. Another reason I chose ONU is because throughout my high school career I have fallen in love with Track and everything about it. So having the opportunity to continue throwing at the next level was another big factor in my decision. When I finally made it down for a visit, I loved the campus and that sealed it for me.”

Bower went on to say, “I’d like to thank all of my football coaches and Bart (Simpson) for equipping me with all of the skills that I will need to compete at the college level, and for all the time they spend with their teams. I would also like to thank my family and friends for supporting me up to this point and for offering their continued support as I continue to get further into my career.”

PHS track coach Bart Simpson said of Bower, "Evan and his class is my first group to come thru as Head Coach here at Portland, so they are a HUGE part of trying to build numbers and turn the Track program around. Because Evan is a great student first, liked by teachers and administration, as well as his peers, he was able to help bring our Track numbers up starting with his class."

Simpson added, "Evan and his crew were robbed of their Freshman year by Covid, so they kind of got a “red shirt” year, practicing with no meets, and Evan did. That takes patience and someone who is dedicated, and that’s probably why Evan started scoring, placing, and winning medals in Meets and Invitationals right away as a sophomore."

"Evan competed in the Regional Track Meet every year finishing 2nd as a Junior, the Honor Roll Meet finishing 6th as a Junior, and 1st Team All-CAAC in Shot and Discus as a Junior. Right now Evan is on both of Portland’s All-Time Discus and Shot Put (11th) Record boards, but I know he’s not done moving up this year."

Regarding ONU, Simpson said, "Olivet Nazarene is a very good Track school with great facilities Indoor and Outdoor. They have just hired D1 Throws Coach, who was a National Championship himself and has coached athletes to be National Champions, and Evan is part of his first recruiting class. I don’t think Evan is close to reaching his potential, so that makes me excited to watch him throw these next 4 years and see what events he ends up in."

Simpson highlighted the number of former Portland athletes competing for ONU. Simpson said, “We will have three throwing at Olivet Nazarene next year! Braiden Kehr walked on to the Track Team at Olivet Naz this year, and just took 4th place in the Javelin this past Friday at Indiana State University's Gibson Invite (Kent State, Marquette, Valpo, Cincy, Grand Valley, Davenport, etc... some decent sized schools). Noah (Simpson) accepted a combination Football and Track scholarship. And Evan most recently accepting a Track scholarship.”

Simpson also noted the PHS 2022 grad Ethan Patrick is running for Alma College this year.

Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University has approximately 3,500 students. According to, the school offers twenty-two intercollegiate teams for men and women and is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Photos courtesy of PHS athletic department.


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