Savatovic Finishes in Second in Hammer Throw on Day Two


EUGENE, Ore. – For the second-straight day, the Kansas State track and field team saw a thrower record a scoring performance as senior Sara Savatovic put the Wildcat women on the board in front of 9,027 fans at Hayward Field on Thursday. 

After two days of competition at the NCAA Championships, the 15th-ranked Wildcat women are tied for eighth place with eight points, while the men are tied for 39th place courtesy of freshman Brett Neelly’s eighth-place finish in the men’s shot put on Wednesday. 

Savatovic entered the finals of the women’s hammer throw sitting in sixth place after a second attempt throw of 62.94m/206-06. Her final throw was the most important, however, as she used a mark of 65.61m/215-03 on the final attempt of her collegiate career to vault into second place to not only earn eight team points, but also First Team All-American Honors in the event. 

Competing in her first NCAA Championship, junior Janee' Kassanavoid made the finals in the women’s hammer throw but narrowly missed a scoring effort, using a personal best throw of 61.46m/201-08, which she recorded on her first attempt, to take ninth place. Her throw earned her Second Team All-American honors in the event. 

“For Sara to come back on her last throw and take second place was really huge,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “Equally was big was Janee’ making the finals. I am really excited for her.”

Senior Dani Winters also earned Second Team All-American honors, finishing in 12th place in the shot put with a throw of 16.45m/53-11.75 on her final attempt. Winters will now turn her attention to the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held in Eugene from July 1-10. 

“We are all disappointed for Dani,” Rovelto said of the senior shot putter. “What she contributed all year was great. It is a tough way to go out, but she hopefully she will have the Trials to come out and make up for it.”

On the track, freshman Ranae McKenzie had a solid race in the 400 meter hurdles, finishing in 23rd place with a time of 1:00.98. McKenzie, who entered the competition ranked 23rd in Division I, earned Honorable Mention All-American accolades.  

“The lane draw really got Ranae a little bit,” Rovelto said. “It is just so hard to run out of lane one. Under the best circumstances, trying to do that is difficult.”

The women’s 4x400 meter relay team, consisting of Sonia Gaskin, Tia' Gamble, McKenzie and Keiteyana Parks, took home Honorable Mention All-American honors after finishing in seventh place in the third heat and 23rd place overall with a time of 3:38.34. 

“I thought Tia’ ran really, really well,” Rovelto noted about the 4x400 meter relay team. “She ran a 52.90 in the second leg. Keiteyana ran decent at the end. I think under the circumstances those two ran as well as they are capable of running.”

Competition resumes on Friday at 2:30 p.m. CT when Akela Jones opens up her title defense in the heptathlon. For more information on the NCAA Championships, including results, heats sheets and the meet schedule, visit the meet home page by clicking here. Live results for the meet can be found by following @kstate_gameday on Twitter or by tuning into the live results here

For the latest on K-State track and field, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateTF or on the team’s Facebook page. 

NCAA Championships
Hayward Field
Eugene, Ore.

Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles Semifinals
23. Ranae McKenzie – 1:00.98

Women’s 4x400 Meter Relay Semifinals
23. Gaskin-Gamble-McKenzie-Parks – 3:38.34

Women’s Shot Put
12. Dani Winters – 16.45m/53-11.75

Women’s Hammer Throw
2. Sara Savatovic - 65.61m/215-03
9. Janee’ Kassanavoid – 61.46m/201-08 (PR)