Savatovic Wins Big 12 Title in Hammer Throw
WACO, Texas – Thrower Sara Savatovic came to Kansas State in January as an athlete the coaching staff believed could make an immediate impact for the Wildcats and that impact came Friday when the freshman won her first Big 12 Championship.
With the entire field batting windy conditions during the women’s hammer throw competition, Savatovic claimed her first conference title and the sixth in Big 12 history for K-State. The freshman won the meet with her toss of 64.11 meters (210-04) to best the field by nearly two feet. The mark improves her own Serbian national record, breaks the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex facility record and puts her second in school history.
Savatovic along with the rest of the field struggled with the windy conditions as she fouled her first two attempts. She then had a safe throw at 56.86 meters to put her in fifth place and qualify for the final. Savatovic improved on her next two throws at 60.63 meters and then 64.11 before walking out of the ring for a foul on her final attempt.
“It means very much to me. I finally threw my PR and a national record for Serbia, and that is a big result for me,” Savatovic said. “I expected to throw a PR soon because I have been training well and it came in the biggest event.”
Although she set a national record and won the Big 12 title, Savatovic said she did not believe the throw was that far initially. She did not celebrate immediately following her throw thinking it was a much shorter mark than the tape measure would later prove. Upon hearing the mark, she then celebrated.
“I didn’t expect that throw would be 64, I expected maybe 61, but when I heard 64 it was amazing,” she said.
Also competing for the women in the hammer throw was redshirt freshman Dani Winters. She finished in 13th place with her mark of 49.50 meters (162-05).
With her title, Savatovic brings K-State’s total to six women’s Big 12 championships in the hammer throw and the first for the Wildcats since Loren Groves in 2008. Nebraska has won four women’s hammer throws and Kansas has three. KU’s Alena Krechyk was the defending champion after setting a Big 12 Championship record a year ago, but she also struggled with the conditions and fouled her first three attempts to not qualify for the final. She entered ranked No. 4 in the NCAA this season. Savatovic’s throw now puts her at No. 11.
“I thought Sara did a great job and got us off to a good start for the meet,” said K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto.
For the men, Alex Roe took sixth place with his throw of 53.69 meters (176-02).
It was a busy day for K-State in the combined events with five women in action of day one of the heptathlon and four men competing in the decathlon. The Wildcats all performed well to put themselves in position to make a major impact on the team standings in both events following the final events of the heptathlon and decathlon.
The women ran fast to open the day in the 100 meter hurdles with Richelle Farley blazing to a time of 13.62 seconds. That time ranks second in school history for a heptathlon, and Erica Twiss crossed the line in 13.87 for the fourth fastest time in a heptathlon. Newcomer Meryl Mbeng ran 14.19 seconds to rank ninth and sixth in the meet after the opening event. Farley held the early lead and Twiss was in third.
On the men’s side Devin Dick posted a new PR in the 100 meters to start the decathlon strong. He clocked in at 11.31 seconds with Tomas Kirielius right behind him at 11.32. Freshman Reinis Kregers ran 11.27 seconds and Tony Granillo was across the line in 11.44.
K-State continued to see good marks from the men in the long jump with Dick finishing second in the event and score 811 points toward his decathlon total. Kregers was third at 6.93 meters (22-09.00) for a new personal best for him.
During the men’s decathlon long jump, the heptathlon high jump saw Twiss take third with a jump of 1.69 meters, just one centimeter shy of her best from earlier this season.
Quality marks continued to roll in for the decathlon with Kirielius, Kregers and Dick finishing 2-3-4 in the shot put and Granillo continued to separate himself from the last few contenders taking seventh and finishing more than five feet ahead of eighth.
Sarah Kolmer made a move during the heptathlon’s shot put, taking second place as most of the field took a step back in the event, and the Wildcats closed strong in the 200 meters for the women. Farley won that event as well with a time of 24.92 seconds with Twiss in fourth and Kolmer in sixth.
Kregers won the high jump portion of the decathlon with a leap of 1.97 meters to move into second place heading into the final event of the day. He then ran 50.96 seconds in the 400 meters for a new PR. That helped him hold his spot in second place heading into the final five events on Saturday.
K-State has all four men in position to finish in the top eight and score points toward the team standings. Kregers stands in second with 3,838 points. Dick is currently fourth with 3,722 points and Kirielius is behind him in fifth with 3,628 points. Granillo holds eighth with 3,488 points.
Four of the women are among the top eight, which score points toward the team total, with another just outside and within striking distance. Farley and Twiss stand in third and fourth place with 3,158 points and 3,156 points, respectively. Mbeng is currently sixth 3,032 points and Kolmer is eighth at 2,978 points. Joslyn Barnes is 10th with 2,874 points.
“Everyone the heptathlon and decathlon positioned themselves to get the team points we hope for,” Rovelto said. “Reinis is in good position to score high enough to get to the NCAA Championship, and I think Erica can improve her position tomorrow with a strong day.”
The second day of the Big 12 Championships begins at 10 a.m. as the heptathlon and decathlon start its final slate of events. Preliminary heats for running events start at 3 p.m. and five field events are slated for Saturday also beginning at 3 p.m.
Fans can follow the action online with updates on Twitter on the live events account @kstate_gameday and @Big12Conference and the official team hasthtag #KStateTF. Live results are available online at deltatiming.com as well.
– k-statesports.com –