Savatovic, Throws Group Stellar at Big 12s

AMES, Iowa -- Sara Savatovic snagged her third-consecutive hammer throw title, headlining an impressive showing by the Wildcat throws group and K-State Track and Field at day one of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Ames, Iowa.

In all, the throws group accounted for 37 of the 42 points scored by the Wildcats on the day, totaling 20 for the women and 17 for the men and helping each squad to first- and fourth-place spots in the standings, respectively.

Head coach Cliff Rovelto was pleased with the day's effort, adding the performances matched the expectations of both him and the staff at this level of competition.

"There were plenty of quality performances," Rovelto said. "The throws, the javelin and hammer throw groups, all threw close to better to what their season-bests and PRs had been coming into today. The [heptathletes] and [decathletes], all three of them, had a number of PRs as well. There were good things to be said for just about everyone that competed today. And that's great, that's the reason why they're here. That's what are our expectations are."  

Savatovic Seizes the Three-peat

Sara Savatovic made the best of her latest Big 12 hammer throw title, marking 66.41m/217-10 to break both her Serbian national and school records en route to taking first-overall and securing the conference title for a third-straight season.  A native of Crvenka, Serbia, Savatovic's success at the conference level has become almost routine, as the junior became only the second thrower in Big 12 history to record a three-peat in the event -- joining another Wildcat in Renetta Seiler, who accomplished the feat from 1997-99.

Breaking her previous personal best of 66.40m/217-04 by a centimeter, Savatovic's winning mark came on her fifth of six total attempts on the morning. Her victory was not without drama though, as much like the Kansas Relays from earlier this April, where she set the then-school record, Savatovic dueled back and forth with KU's Daina Levy. At that meet in Lawrence, Kansas, Levy took a late lead in the final round of action forcing Savatovic to uncork her then-personal best of 66.40m in her final attempt of the afternoon to earn the victory.

Fast-forwarding to today's action, Savatovic marked 64.50m/211-07 in her third attempt and looked primed to run away with the title, as she continued to hold a near-two meter lead on the field of 10 after four rounds. Levy, who had entered the meet ranked No. 6 in Division I (Savatovic ranked fourth), jumped ahead though in the following round, hitting a near-PR of 65.31m/214-03. The Jayhawk's lead lasted briefly, as Savatovic marked 66.41m in the final throw of round five and went onto hold the lead for the sixth and final round.

Rovelto praised Savatovic for her latest accomplishment.

"The thing is with any event, but especially when you're talking about an event that is highly-technical in its demands, I think to win back-to-back, let alone three-in-a-row is difficult," Rovelto said. "She has competed against some very quality athletes in each of those years and to prevail like that, virtually every year performing at PR-level, and taking her level of performance to a level that it hadn't been previous on one of the more important days of the year -- that is really special.

"And it's interesting to note no one has accomplished that since Renetta because in all my time at Kansas State, any event, Renetta is one of my favorite athletes," Rovelto added. "From the perspective of she contributed in so many different events, always kind of rose to the occasion, was very much a team player, eager to learn about all events and went on to become a pretty good coach in her own right. I think that's pretty great company to be in."

An impressive display no doubt, Savatovic's late-surge in the event is the second time she has PRed at Big 12 Outdoors to win the hammer throw title -- the other time being her freshman year in 2013. She also is only the fourth Wildcat women's athlete in outdoor history to win conference titles in three-consecutive years, joining the aforementioned Seiler, as well as Felicia Curry-Carpenter (1986-88) and Susie Norton (1974-76).

Hartung Shines in Final Big 12s

Senior Ivan Hartung capped off his Big 12 career with a bang, finishing second-overall with a monster PR throw of 70.02m/229-09 in the javelin. Entering the meet as the No. 4 thrower in the conference, Hartung took an early lead with a chuck of 69.89m/229-03 on his third attempt of the afternoon. His lead would hold until the fifth round, where Garrett Snow of Oklahoma registered a conference-best throw of 73.61m/241-06 to move into first-place. Despite falling to second-place, Hartung would go onto improve in the fifth round, hitting 70.02m and securing his second career runner-up finish at Big 12 Outdoors.

A native of Manhattan, Kansas, Hartung is currently one of only 25 throwers in Division I to have thrown 70-plus meters this season and his latest effort easily bested his previous PR of 67.20m/220-06 set in 2013.

Joining Hartung in the javelin were two Wildcats making their Big 12 debuts in Dwight Davidson and Lucas Moeder. The duo placed fifth and eighth, respectively, tallying an additional five points for K-State. Davidson finished the afternoon with a personal best throw of 63.33m/207-09, while Moeder hit 58.17m/190-10. The three total scoring efforts for the Wildcats in the event marked the first time since 2013 K-State has had three or more scorers -- that year saw Hartung take second and former Wildcats Tomas Kirielius and Jake Darrington finish fifth and sixth, respectively.  

Galvan PRs Her Way to Fourth in 10K

Laura Galvan sped her way to her second-straight scoring performance at Big 12s in the 10K, clocking 34:43.46, for fourth-place. For the senior, she was one of four runners to finish in a time under 35 minutes and the overall effort marked an improvement from the only other time she has ran the event, at Big 12 Outdoors in 2014. Last season in Lubbock, Galvan took sixth in 36:03.91 at altitude in the event becoming the first Wildcat women's athlete to score in the event since Sydney Messick in 2011. Now with back-to-back scoring efforts, Galvan is the first runner since Messick in 2010-11 to accomplish the feat. She also clocked the eighth-fastest time in school history with her scoring performance tonight, the best showing by a Wildcat since Messick finished at 2011 Big 12s in 34:31.23 for seventh-overall.  

Elsewhere in the Throws...

Danie Plank and Haley Pitko tallied 10 points for the Wildcat women, finishing third and fifth, respectively, in the javelin throw. Plank, who entered the meet as the fourth-ranked thrower in the conference, marked a season-best 50.67m/166-03 for six points and third-place. Pitko, meanwhile, entered the meet as No. 8 in the conference. The sophomore thrower improved by nearly two meters on her previous PR of 44.20m/145-00, marking 46.02m/151-00 to tack on four more points for the Wildcat women. Along with the scoring effort, Pitko's mark put her at ninth-best in school history.

• In the men's hammer throw, Kyle Smith notched his second-consecutive conference scoring effort outdoors by placing fifth-overall. Marking 56.48m/185-04 on his third attempt of the afternoon, the sophomore improved upon last year's conference championship showing that saw him place eighth. Smith's effort also tallied four points for the Wildcats, matching last season's overall scoring effort by the men's hammer group between Smith and former Wildcat Alex Roe.  

3-4-5 for the Wildcat Multis

The conclusion of day one for both the decathlon and heptathlon saw the Wildcats place all three athletes in the top-five between the two multis.

In the decathlon, Adam Deterding was buoyed by strong efforts on the track, holding third-place after the first five events with a tally of 3,763 points. The sophomore opened with a personal best time of 11.28 seconds in the 100-meter. He would sit in sixth after three events, before clearing 1.93m/6-04 in the high jump to bump up to fifth-overall. Deterding's strongest performance came in the final event of the afternoon, the 400-meter, as he used a late burst in the final 200m to clock 49.79 seconds and finish second in his heat. A personal best by more than a second (51.29), the PR time moved Deterding to third-place, only 196 points off the lead held by Oklahoma's Thomas Cheval. Placing sixth at last season's Big 12 Outdoors, Deterding looks on pace to best that performance. He's already improved in regards to day one, as his first day showing in Lubbock last season had him in sixth-place with a tally of 3,565 points. The Hays, Kansas, native will be back in action tomorrow starting with the 110-meter hurdles at 10 a.m.

On the women's side, Sarah Kolmer and Joslyn Barnes currently sit in fourth and fifth, respectively, after the first four events of the heptathlon. Kolmer started strong placing third in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 14.71. Dropping to ninth following the high jump portion, Kolmer rebounded with back-to-back first-place finishes in the shot put and 200-meter dash. The latter performance in particular was notable, as Kolmer set a PR of 24.79 to top the field of nine and move herself to third-overall. Barnes, meanwhile, was consistent throughout, using a PR in the 100H (15.06) and top-five finishes in the high jump and shot put to stay in the overall top-five for most of day one. Both Wildcats open in the field tomorrow, starting with the long jump at 10:30 a.m.

Vanderpool Moves to No. 5 in School History

In her first career conference championships, freshman Megan Vanderpool set a new season-best in the pole vault en route to moving up to the program top-10 list. Clearing 3.93m/12-10.75, Vanderpool's season-best effort vaulted her to No. 5 in school history. She also narrowly missed recording a scoring performance for the Wildcats, as she was one of six athletes to clear the height, but placed 11th due to more missed overall attempts.

What's Next?

Big 12 action continues tomorrow, starting with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles at 10 a.m. Along with the conclusions of both multis tomorrow, several field events as well as preliminaries on the track will be on the docket for day two action. Updates on K-State results in Ames can be found by following @kstate_gameday on Twitter via #KStateTF.


Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships (Day I)
Cyclone Sports Complex
Ames, Iowa

10K
Women
4: Laura Galvan, 34:43.46 -- Personal best & 8th-fastest in school history

Pole Vault
Men
--: Tommy Brady, NH

Women
11: Megan Vanderpool, 3.93m/12-10.75 -- 5th-best in school history

Javelin
Men
2: Ivan Hartung, 70.02m/229-09 -- 4th-best in school history
5: Dwight Davidson, 63.33m/207-09 -- Personal best
8: Lucas Moeder, 58.17m/190-10

Women
3: Danie Plank, 50.67m/166-30
5: Haley Pitko, 46.02m/151-00 -- Personal best & 9th-best in school history

Hammer Throw
Men
5: Kyle Smith, 56.48m/185-04
10: Kale Mueller, 47.50m/155-10

Women
1: Sara Savatovic, 66.41m/217-11 -- Personal best, school & Serbian national record

Decathlon
3: Adam Deterding, 3,763 pts.
100m: 11.28 (0.4) -- 799 pts. -- Personal best
LJ: 6.69m/21-11.50 (0.8) -- 741 pts.
SP: 12.86m/42-02.25 -- 659 pts.
HJ: 1.93m/6-04 -- 740 pts.
400m: 49.79 -- 824 pts. -- Personal best

Heptathlon
4: Sarah Kolmer, 3,087 pts.
100H: 14.71 (0.5) -- 880 pts.
HJ: 1.52m/4-11.75 -- 644 pts.
SP: 11.94m/39-02.25 -- 657 pts.
200m: 24.79 (0.9) -- 906 pts. -- Personal best & 8th-fastest in school heptathlon history

5: Joslyn Barnes, 3,036 pts.  
100H: 15.06 (0.9) -- 834 pts. -- Personal best
HJ: 1.67m/5-05.75 -- 818 pts.
SP: 11.17m/36-07.75 -- 606 pts.
200m: 26.22 (0.6) -- 778 pts.