Kovar finished 10th in Division I with a mark of 53-3.75.
R. Dean & Daryn Hendrickson

Kovar Places 10th in the Shot Put at the NCAA Indoor Championship

March 15, 2014
By SUU Strategic Communication

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – March 15 – Southern Utah thrower Kayla Kovar represented the Thunderbirds with a top-10 performance in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor National Championship on Saturday. The senior posted a 10th-place mark of 53-3.75 at the championship meet, which was hosted by New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

“I had a really good time competing at the championship and I felt very honored to be able to go this year,” Kovar said after the event. “Going to the national championship has been my goal for this season. I probably could have done better today, but now I am very excited to get into the outdoor season.”

Kovar entered the championship ranked ninth in the nation with a personal best mark of 55-10.5 which she also recorded at the Albuquerque arena, during New Mexico’s Don Kirby Elite Invitational on Feb. 15. Her championship mark of 53-3.75 placed her only 19 inches behind the eighth-place and final All-American competitor, Rice University’s Claire Uke (54-10.75).

“We were a little disappointed to miss out on the finals (top nine) and All-American spots, but to get as far as she has today really shows the amount of work Kayla has put in,” Southern Utah throws coach Trevor Matuszak said. “In the two months that I have worked with Kayla, I have seen in her a level of passion and work ethic that not a lot of people have.”

Kovar led the Thunderbird throwers throughout the indoor season with a top-three shot put finish at every meet she attended. She tallied 20 points toward the Lady T-Birds’ fifth-place Big Sky finish with individual titles in both the shot put and weight throw at the conference championship and repeatedly broke Southern Utah’s top record in the indoor event. She also earned four consecutive Big Sky Athlete of the Week awards after her finishes at the NAU Invite, UW Invite, Mountain T’s Invite and Don Kirby Elite Invite.

“To represent Southern Utah University at the national championship is really a great accomplishment for Kayla and she is really ready for the outdoor season,” head track and field coach Eric Houle commented. “She has shown real consistency in her performances this season and that always opens the door for good things in the future.”

Kovar opened the outdoor season at the UNLV Track Classic on March 9 and set new Southern Utah outdoor records in both the shot put (53-6.5) and hammer throw (51-7.25). She will next compete when the Thunderbirds split between the UC Riverside Spring Track Classic on March 29 and the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on March 26-29.