June 11, 2014EUGENE, Ore. – K-State Track and Field hit the ground running in day one of the Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships with an All-American performance in the hammer throw, multiple athletes recording PRs and an 800 meter final qualifying effort on the women’s side.
In all, Sara Savatovic earned first team All-American honors for her performance in the hammer throw, while both Ryan Hershberger in the shot put and Sonia Gaskin in the 800 meter registered personal bests,. The decathlon saw Devin Dick and Reinis Kregers place ninth and 15th, respectively, after day one and Erica Twiss in the long jump and Danie Plank in the javelin finish 16th and 21st overall in their respective events.
Head coach Cliff Rovelto was pleased with the Wildcats’ effort.
“All in all, today went really well,” Rovelto said. “Sara, it’s her first time at an outdoor national meet and she scored, Ryan in his first national meet makes the final with a PR and Sonia getting through to the final [in the 800 meter] was great so I thought it was a very good day overall.”
Savatovic Finishes Seventh in Hammer Throw
Sara Savatovic capped off a sensational sophomore campaign with a seventh-place finish in the women’s hammer throw. Registering a final mark of 63.80m/209-04, Savatovic outlasted a competitive field that saw 13 of the 24 throwers record a throw of 200 feet or more. It was a clutch performance for the Crvenka, Serbia, native, as she hit 63.80m in her third attempt of the afternoon to move from 11th-place to sixth-place and advance to the event’s final three rounds. From there, she held serve in the final’s top-nine, dropping to seventh only after LSU’s Denise Hinton registered a throw of 64.25m/210-09 to move from seventh to fifth-place.
For Savatovic, the top-eight finish ensured her first career All-American honor in the event and she is the first Wildcat to be named to the first team since Loren Groves finished seventh in 2009. She is also only the fifth Wildcat women’s thrower in school history to earn first team honors in the event.
Hershberger Places Ninth in Shot Put
Ryan Hershberger ended his K-State career with a career-best showing in the men’s shot put. The senior continued his recent stretch of strong performances with a ninth-place finish in his first-ever NCAA Championships. Registering a personal best throw of 19.29m/63-03.50 in his third throw of the day, Hershberger secured a spot in the event’s final three rounds by moving into ninth-place.
Hershberger would finish the day there, narrowly missing a top-eight finish, but recording one of the best overall performances by a Wildcat men’s shot putter in nearly three decades. Not since Andrew Gillam at the 1985 NCAA Outdoors meet has a Wildcat shot putter placed better, seventh, or recorded a bigger throw in K-State purple – Gillam chucked a school record 19.69m/64-07.50 at that meet. Hershberger furthered secured his spot at No. 5 all-time in school history, while also becoming only the fifth Wildcat in program history to register a throw of 63-plus meters.
Gaskin Moves onto 800 Meter Final
Sonia Gaskin kept up her scorching pace in the 800 meter, registering a personal best for a third consecutive race and advancing to the event final with the fifth-fastest time in the semifinals. Clocking in at 2:04.37, Gaskin took third in her heat, finishing behind only Oregon’s Laura Roesler and Stanford’s Claudia Saunders, who also had the first and second-fastest times overall. Gaskin qualified by virtue of having one of the two fastest times outside of the six automatic qualifiers.
With the qualifying effort, the sophomore is ensured her first career All-American honors in the event and will be the first Wildcat women’s runner since former Korene Hinds in 2001 to finish in the event’s top-eight outdoors. In addition, Gaskin’s latest PR bested her previous time of 2:04.79 set at last month’s West Prelims and moved her into second all-time in school history.
Top-15 Showings for Dick and Kregers after Day One of Decathlon
Devin Dick and Reinis Kregers sit in 9th and 15th-place, respectively, after day one of the men’s decathlon. For Dick, he closed out the first day of competition with a final score of 4,006 points. His effort was highlighted by strong showings in the shot put and long jump. The Hutchinson, Kansas, native opened up competition with a wind-aided time of 11.10 seconds in the 100 meter. After tying for fifth overall in the long jump with a leap of 7.33m/24-00.75, Dick would move to his highest placing of the day in the shot put. Recording a throw of 14.44m/47-04.50, Dick took second overall in the event and moved into third place in the decathlon.
The senior would finish his day clearing 1.93m/6-04.00 in the high jump and placing 17th in the 400 meter in a time of 50.75 seconds. His day one point total of 4,006 is the second-best showing by a Wildcat decathlete at NCAAs in the past eight seasons – the current streak K-State has of at least one qualifier in the decathlon (11 entries total). Only Moritz Cleve in 2009 had a better day one score, 4,131 points, and placing, third, than Dick in the past eight seasons.
For Kregers, he finished with a day one total of 3,837 points. The sophomore’s strongest performance of the day came in the high jump where he cleared 2.02m/6-07.50 to take first in his flight.
Both athletes will be back in action tomorrow, starting with the 110-meter hurdles at 1 p.m., CT.
Rounding Out the Action for #KStateTF…
• Senior Erica Twiss wrapped up her K-State outdoor career with a 16th-place finish in the women’s long jump. Recording a final wind-aided leap 6.14m/20-01.75 in her third and final jump of the day, Twiss is only the third Wildcat women’s jumper in the past decade to finish in the event’s top-16 at NCAAs outdoors, joining Nina Kokot and Candice Mills (2x).
The effort ensured Twiss second team All-American honors as well, giving her All-American status both indoors and outdoors for the 2014 season.
• Competing on the national stage for the first time in her career, Danie Plank finished 21st overall in the women’s javelin throw. One of only two freshmen competing in the event, Plank registered a final throw of 45.56m/149-06.00 in her second attempt of the day.
K-State is back in action tomorrow, as Dick and Kregers kick off action at 1 p.m., CT in the men’s decathlon 110-meter hurdles. Also set to compete for the Wildcats will be Devin Field in the long jump and the Wildcat women’s 4x400 squad in the relay semifinals to close out the evening. For more information on today’s action, as well as the upcoming events for K-State Track and Field, visit www.k-statesports.com.
NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships
5: Sonia Gaskin, K-State, 2:04.37q – Personal best & 2nd-best in school history
16: Erica Twiss, K-State, 6.14m/20-01.75 w (2.0)
9: Ryan Hershberger, K-State, 19.29m/63-03.50 – Personal best & 5th-best in school history
7: Sara Savatovic, K-State, 63.80m/209-04
21: Danie Plank, K-State, 45.56m/149-06.00
Decathlon (Day One)
9: Devin Dick, K-State, 4,006 pts
100m: 11.10 w (2.2) – 838 pts
LJ: 7.33m/24-00.75 (0.0) – 893 pts
SP: 14.44m/47-04.50 – 755 pts
HJ: 1.93m/6-04.00 – 740 pts
400m: 50.75 – 780 pts
15: Reinis Kregers, K-State, 3,837 pts
100m: 11.45 w (2.3) – 763 pts
LJ: 6.97m/22-10.50 w (2.8) – 807 pts
SP: 13.06m/42-10.25 – 671 pts
HJ: 2.02m/6-07.50 – 822 pts – Ties personal outdoor best & T-9th-best in school decathlon history
400m: 50.89 – 774 pts