Kayla Kovar Ranks Fourth in NCAA Division I After Shot Put at NAU
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Feb. 8 – Southern Utah thrower Kayla Kovar has likely earned a place at the NCAA Indoor Championship after recording a first-place mark of 55-10.25 in the shot put at Northern Arizona’s Mountain T’s Invitational on Saturday. The senior currently ranks fourth in Division I and set a new all-time record for Southern Utah, improving her previous record by more than two feet.
Kovar led the field in the shot put at NAU with her record-breaking mark and is anticipated to represent Southern Utah at the national championship as one of the top-16 competitors in the nation. She also led the Thunderbird women in the weight throw, recording a third-place mark of 61-0.75.
Teammate Whitney Singleton was not far behind Kovar in the shot put, recording a fifth-place mark of 48-0 and earning a second-place position in SUU’s record books. Jennika Wright also made it into the record books with an eighth-place mark of 46-1.25, ranking fifth in the school’s top ten.
Sophomore Jayson Kovar led the Thunderbirds on the men’s side, mirroring his sister with his own new Southern Utah record in the shot put. Kovar placed second in the event with a mark of 57-0.25, and jumped from the third to the first position in the top-ten records. He also placed second in the weight throw with a 54-9.5 toss.
“Overall it was really a great meet for us,” head coach Eric Houle said. “We saw great improvement across the board this weekend. Everyone is really getting better and better each week as we get ready for the conference championship.”
Southern Utah’s multi athletes made their season debut in the men’s heptathlon at Northern Arizona. Alex Anderson led the T-Birds in the event with a third-place overall finish and Big Sky qualifying score of 4759. Anderson placed first in two of the seven events, the long jump and 60-meter hurdles, and now ranks third in SUU’s heptathlon records as well as 10th in the 60-meter hurdles records.
Eric Durrant and Russell Nielson joined Anderson in the heptathlon events and placed seventh and 11th with scores of 4531 and 3480, respectively. Durrant’s score also ranks seventh in the school records.
The T-Bird sprinters also excelled at NAU, with the women’s 4x400-meter relay team racing to a first-place finish. The team included Shaye Maurer-Springall, Haley Harris, Andrea Martinez and Jamila Pullum and set a fifth-place SUU record with a time of 3:50.58.
Jumper Taylir Garrison also continues to climb up the rankings in Southern Utah’s records after a third-place finish in the high jump. The sophomore now ranks third in the top ten after clearing a height of 5-7.
Preston Myers led the sprinters on the men’s side with an individual title in the 200-meter dash and season-best time of 21.72, followed by Shaun Murray with a sixth-place time of 22.03. Arnold Carrillo also raced to a top-three finish for the T-Birds, tying for second in the 400-meters with a time of 48.62.
Hayden Hawks and Mike Tate led SUU’s distance squad at the Lumberjack-hosted meet, racing to second- and third-place consecutive finishes in the 3,000-meter run with respective times of 8:27.75 and 8:28.84. Shelli Mogensen and Dayna VanArsdol performed an identical feat in the women’s 3,000-meters, placing second and third with times of 10:12.79 and 10:35.08.
The Thunderbirds will once again split between two venues next weekend. A portion of both the men’s and women’s squads will return to Seattle, Wash., for the Husky Classic, while the rest of the team travels to Albuquerque, N.M., for New Mexico’s Don Kirbey Elite Invitational. Both meets will take place Feb. 14-15.