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By Henry Netherland
Pathfinder 

SSHS student signs with CSU for track

 

November 19, 2020

Henry Netherland, Pathfinder

Seeley-Swan High School senior Klaire Kovatch signs a national letter of intent to throw discus, javelin and possibly weight and hammer for Colorado State University. From front left are Klaire's father Kalvin, Klaire, Klaire's mother Karen and her brother Klayton. From back left are Kovatch's grandparents Jan and Dave Guelff and SSHS track coaches Shawn Holmes, David Cahoon, Zelda Haines and Mike Haines.

SEELEY LAKE - Seeley-Swan High School senior Klaire Kovatch signed a national letter of intent to throw discus, javelin and potentially weight and hammer for the Colorado State University Division 1 track and field team on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Kovatch said part of the reason she decided to sign with CSU was that it was relatively close to home with a major airport nearby and that they offered the degree she is looking to pursue which is food science and human nutrition.

"I liked the idea that there was a major there [where] I can go all the way to get my PhD if I wanted to. So that was a huge incentive," she said. 

She also said that the university gave her "a really good offer." Her mother Karen said she was offered a 70% athletic Grant-in-Aid covering tuition, fees, room and board, and books. Karen added she has every intention of earning the other 30% academically.

Klaire appreciates the relationship she has developed with head CSU track and field Coach Brian Bedard who has been recruiting her for over a year.

"I just see that he really cares about his throwers," she said. "He cares about his program. He wants me there and so that's super meaningful to me."

She mostly looks forward to improving her technique in javelin and learning hammer because she has never tried it before. She feels that she has established a good foundation on discus.

She began shot putting in fifth grade but later transitioned into discus the next year when she continued to develop her skill set.

"It started off with just a simple standing throw," she said. "You just keep building on from there and pretty soon you're doing a rotation, and then you're doing another rotation [(into]) a full spin. Those seasons always have their ups and downs. You get stuck in a spot and you have technical difficulties, just figuring out stuff. I have those every year, but you just have to keep practicing and push through them."

According to a press release from CSU, Klaire sits in the top 10 for six events in the SSHS record book, including the school record in the discus, which she set her sophomore year reaching 150 feet, 2 inches. She looks forward to defending it this upcoming season since her junior year season was canceled due to COVID.

"It was one of those throws that you let it go and it felt smooth, it felt easy, and you're like, 'Oh, I don't know,' and then you kind of watch it and you're like, 'Wow, that's still going like man that's really going out there,'" she said. "And then when they pull the tape back and they have to keep pulling the tape out, that's when you're like, 'Oh, yeah, that's a good throw.' So it was really something to hear them say 150 because the (difference) between 140 and 150, it's only 10 feet, but it's a big jump."

Over the summer, she attended Big Sky Games, an amateur multi-sport event, which resulted in her receiving a title and setting a meet record for girls in the 16-18 age range with a throw of 148 feet, 9 inches. 

Leading up to her second consecutive discus title in the Montana High School Association Track and Field Championships, she won six other discus events in 2019 including the district and divisional stops with the latter representing her personal record. She also finished runner-up three times. In javelin, she received two third place finishes and took seventh place on the all-time school list. 

Outside of the field events, she was a part of the 4x100 m and 4x400 m relay teams, both of which swept district and divisional meets. The 4x400 grabbed the state title while the 4x100 finished runner-up. Klaire said she does not intend to run while at CSU.

Her father Kalvin is the throwing coach at SSHS and has coached her since sixth grade in all throwing events. He said he is super excited to see her sign on and that she deserves it.

Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Klaire Kovatch goes into her spin at the 2019 Divisional meet.

"Obviously, it's different because I'm her dad so emotionally it's good to see her succeeding and moving on and I think going to Colorado State is a great choice of hers," he said. "She's always shown competence in what she's doing. We knew early on like even in junior high that she was going to be a successful thrower. She was breaking records and being a nationally ranked thrower since seventh grade. Coach Bedard just has an amazing program at CSU."

Outside of track and field, Klaire participated on the high school's volleyball and basketball teams receiving offers from over 25 schools to play any of her three sports according to a CSU press release. In said release, Bedard said Klaire was a "grinder."

"Klaire is a multi-sport athlete that shows leadership and work ethic on her high school teams," he said. "She's coached by her father during track season and works for the family business while going to school. This tells me Klaire will fit in well at college already knowing how to manage her time and talents."

 

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