SUU track, field season comes to an end, Kovar finishes 17th at nationals


EUGENE, Oregon – Southern Utah University senior Jayson Kovar saw his career come to a close on Friday evening in Track Town, as he ended the season as an Honorable Mention All-American at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Kovar competed in the discus, where he finished 17th overall in the field. Kovar started the second of two flights with a throw of 179 feet, 2 inches. After his second attempt went foul to the right, he sent his third and final throw 180 feet two feet, which put him in 17th place.

“It meant a lot to me, I was glad to be back and competing at the national level again,” Kovar said about his overall experience. “It wasn’t the outcome that I wanted, but I gave it my all.”

Only the top nine move on to the final round.

Filip Mihaljevic, a senior from Virginia, won the National Championship in the event with a throw of 209 feet 2 inches.

Last season Kovar earned Second Team All-American honors at Nationals. He will leave Southern Utah as the record holder in the discus and the shot put in the outdoor record book.

When asked what some of his best memories as a Thunderbird will be, Kovar said his teammates have definitely left a lasting impact on him.

“All the teammates that have supported me throughout the years, those that have been there at practice every day training with me,” he said. “That was a big help to me and I’m going to miss them.”

Kovar stole the show for the Thunderbirds at NCAA West Prelims in Austin, Texas, as he finished fourth overall in the discus throw with a season best of 191 feet 2 inches.

Kovar was in the third of three flights, and topped every throw in the first two flights with his first attempt. He hit his high mark with his third and final throw.

He finished fourth behind Reno Tuufuli from Iowa (203 feet 7 inches), Nicholas Percy from Nebraska (201 feet) and Mitchell Cooper from Kansas (193 feet 4 inches). Oregon’s Ryan Hunter-Simms rounded out the top five with a throw of 187 feet 2 inches.  

Following the 2016-17 season, the Big Sky Conference has announced its 2016-17 Scholar-Athlete Award winners, which include Southern Utah Thunderbirds Logan Harker and Eric Sandall.

 Harker, a Thunderbird soccer standout, graduated this spring with a degree in Physical Education, and track & field athlete Sandall graduated in engineering.

 Keep up with the Thunderbirds by following @SUUThunderbirds on Twitter and Instagram along with liking Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Facebook.

The Big Sky Conference announced its 2016-17 Scholar-Athlete Award winners Thursday.

 To qualify for the award, a student-athlete must have a minimum grade-point-average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale), be a member of the graduating class and/or have completed their last year of intercollegiate athletic eligibility, have completed at least two years of intercollegiate competition and be a letter winner in their respective sport.

Recent Nationals History

The Thunderbirds have had a lot of success on the National Championship stage in the past several years.

In 2015, the Thunderbirds were represented by two athletes, Kovar’s sister, Kayla Kovar and distance runner Nate Jewkes. For both of them that was their second trip to the National Championships.

In 2012, Cam Levins claimed a pair of National Championships, winning both the 10K and 5K in Oregon.

PHOTO courtesy of SUU Athletics

Caption: Jayson Kovar achieves 17th overall at the National Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. This last Friday.

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