Savatovic Looks For Fifth Consecutive Big 12 Title

When the junior from Crvenka, Serbia, came to Manhattan, Kansas, as a freshman, she already held her nation's record in the event, and she expected to break K-State's all-time record in no time.
"I've held the Serbian national record for about four years, so I've been breaking that record over and over," explained Savatovic at RV Christian Track last week. "But the K-State record, I've been wanting to break that. I was, honestly, expecting to break it in my freshman year, but it didn't happen. Then my sophomore year; nothing. So this year I really wanted to break it, and it finally came."
Her record-breaking performance came on April 17, at the KU Relays where, in dramatic fashion, Savatovic hit 66.40m/217-10 on her sixth attempt of the evening to make Wildcat history and place first overall at the meet. 
"It was a really dramatic meet," she explained. "I was leading until my last attempt and then the girl from KU - she's really good - she beat me, she threw her PR - and it was better than my PR (at the time). I usually don't throw far in my last throw, but I just kept thinking, 'I can do this.' I had two seconds to prepare, there were so many emotions, I could have messed it up or I could have thrown it well. I didn't want the pressure to change my performance."
Not letting the pressure get to her, Savatovic wound up, threw and defeated fellow All-American, Kansas' Daina Levy, who finished the meet in second with a mark of 65.81m/215-11. Savatovic's throw was the best in Wildcat history and surpassed Wildcat great Loren Groves' former record mark of 65.35m/214-05.
With her recent record-breaking throw, Savatovic will now go down in K-State history as an all-time great, but her path getting to where she is at today hasn't been an easy one. 
Back in December 2014, before the K-State track and field indoor season began, a discus hernia in her back left Savatovic walking with a cane. 
"I felt like I was 100 years old," she explained. 
It took an entire month of recovery before she was back in action competing. Not letting the time off hold her back, Savatovic worked her way back onto the track and, ultimately, won her second-consecutive Big 12 title in the weight throw at the 2015 Indoor Big 12 Championships.
Fast forward to March 2015, before the Wildcats traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, for the TCU Invitational - the first meet of this year's outdoor season - and Savatovic began feeling the pain again. 
"It was frustrating because I was in the best shape of my life, then on the way to TCU my back started hurting again," she said. "I was only two throws in, and I was like 'What's going on?' They figured out it was a discus hernia. I almost had to redshirt. I was hoping and praying that I would recover as soon as possible, and luckily, that happened."
While Savatovic continued rehab and took it slow in the weeks following the TCU Invitational, she was back up and running nearly a month later for the KU Relays - so after overcoming the injury, it only made her record-breaking victory that much sweeter. 
Fully healthy and ready to compete again, Savatovic and the Wildcat track and field team will head to Ames, Iowa, this weekend for the Big 12 Track and Field Outdoor Championships.
Savatovic has won two consecutive hammer throw titles at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships and isn't planning on slowing down any time soon. 
"I have four Big 12 titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons, and I said that I want to win the rest of my collegiate career, so it's my goal of course," said Savatovic about going into this weekend's meet with a winning mindset. "It's nice to win titles and everything, but I think I just want to do my best. If I do my best and focus on myself, I can throw really far. I don't want to be obsessed with thinking about winning, because I know if I do everything right it will be good.
"I like this meet because it's really competitive," she continued. "There are two other girls, one from Oklahoma and the other from KU, and they're also in the top 10 in the nation. So it's going to be really competitive this year, but I'm excited. I like to compete and I like to compete against good people. That pushes me to improve even more."
A win at this year's Big 12 Outdoor Championships would mark Savatovic's fifth conference title with K-State - and she's only a junior. She still has another year left with the program.
Savatovic is serious about training - so serious she said her teammates joke with her asking if she lives at the track - but she's serious about staying healthy, too. She said along with her set practice schedule she's added "so much rehab" while also adding extra strength and stretching exercises to make sure she stays healthy heading into not only this weekend's competition, but also the remainder of her career. 
"I've never felt like this before; I'm in the best shape of my life, and I've never been better," said Savatovic before heading off to practice. "I work so much at this, I put in so much effort, so I just want to throw far. I know if I focus I can throw far. I don't want to say my goal is to win this or that, no, my goal is to place as high as I can in every meet and always give it my best."
 

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