By Con Marshall
Chadron State College graduate student Kyla Sawvell placed 3rd in the hammer throw on the first day of the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships Thursday.
The women’s hammer throw was one of the first events to be completed at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Sawvell’s best throw measured 61.43 meters, or 201 feet, 6 inches. The Wall, S.D., native was one of only three contestants to hit more than 200 feet. This is the third year in a row that she has earned All-American laurels in the event.
This year’s hammer throw winner for the third year in a row is Judith Essemiah of Grand Valley State in Michigan, who threw a career-best 64.31 meters, or 211 feet even. The runner-up is Hannah Woelfling of Millersville University in Pennsylvania at 61.68 meters, or 203-4.
Fourth and fifth are the entries from Wayne State College in Nebraska. Brooklynn Chipps threw 197-5 and McKenzie Scheil threw 195-1.
A year ago, Essemiah’s winning mark was 207-8, Scheil was the runner-up at 195-5 and Chipps was third at 192-11. Then a student at Black Hills State, Sawvell placed sixth in the hammer throw last year, hitting 186-8. Woelfling, this year’s runner-up, was 10th last year at 180 feet.
Sawvell placed in the hammer in 2021 at 186-1. Essemiah’s winning mark was 205-5 while Scheil was second at 193-10 and Woelfiling was fourth at 186-6.
Sawvell also is a shot put qualifier at this year’s championships for the third year in a row. That event will take place Saturday afternoon. She has the sixth longest qualifying mark of 49 feet, 1 inch. She was the silver medalist in 2021 at 50-11 ½ and placed seventh last year at 48-8.
Chadron State’s Shane Collins of Bison, S.D., was among the 20 men’s hammer throw entries that followed the women’s competition.
Collins scratched his first two throws of the competition. On his third and final attempt, he threw 56.14 meters, or 184 feet, 3 inches. His personal best this season was 60.31 meters, or 197 feet, 10 inches, at the RMAC Championships.
Collins finished the men’s hammer throw at the DII NCAA Championships in 18th place.