ConVal record-breaker Hall has sights set high

  • Savanna Hall of ConVal is the school record holder for discus, a record she hopes to rebreak at Saturday's Division II track and field championships. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Savanna Hall of ConVal is the school record holder for discus, a record she hopes to rebreak at Saturday's Division II track and field championships. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Savanna Hall of ConVal is the school record holder for discus, a record she hopes to rebreak at Saturday's Division II track and field championships. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Savanna Hall of ConVal is the school record holder for discus, a record she hopes to rebreak at Saturday's Division II track and field championships. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/24/2019 11:19:02 AM
Modified: 5/24/2019 11:18:50 AM

It didn’t take long for Savanna Hall to make an impression on the ConVal track and field team. At the start of her freshman year, throwing coach Jim Aborn handed Hall a discus and told her to take a practice toss; she’d only been a sprinter in middle school, and the whole discus thing was foreign to her, but she gave it a shot.

“He told me to do an up drill,” Hall said, “just to throw it up to get a feel for the discus, and I ended up throwing it wrong and threw it outwards and threw it over 80 feet the first time I ever threw a discus.”  

Aborn said her first throw hit the equipment shed, and the second, even better, landed on the roof.

“Those were her first two throws and they were long enough to qualify for states, so you knew you had a live wire right from the get-go,” Aborn said.

Thus began Hall’s journey to the ConVal record books. 

“That sparked my interest,” Hall said, “to see that I had potential in a throwing event rather than just sprinting.”

“She came in very strong, had a very good core, good base, and for some reason – everybody’s got a gift – she could just throw it, make it fly,” Aborn said. “She took to it like a duck to water.”

Hall slung a 99-foot toss at the end of her freshman year, just 18 inches short of Emily Vanderneut’s ConVal school record of 100’8”, on the verge of history. But she wouldn’t crack 100 feet for another two years.

In the meantime, Hall trained like a beast, hitting the weights and working on her technique.

“Discus is a lot about the spin of it, getting the whole footwork down,” Hall said. “A lot of people think you have to be big, brawn, muscles to get it down, but there’s a lot of people who throw who are smaller too, and they can get it wicked far just by technique. It’s all about perfecting the spin and being on your toes in the spin, staying up straight at the end and aiming for the sky so you’re not leaning forward.”

Of course, there is a little brawn involved, too, and Hall did her part to improve her strength.

“I can not tell you the amount of time we’ve spent in the weight room,” Aborn said. “She’s the strongest kid on the football  team and she didn’t even play football.”

Aborn recalled a session in the ConVal weight room when the ConVal freshman football team was working out. “She winked at me,” Aborn said, “lay down on the next bench and put up twice as much as they were doing, without a spotter, and she hits three of them and says ‘How many do you want me to do?’”

Hall got her footwork down, polished her spin technique, and worked on her focus, and she added some more tools, too; Aborn bought her a new black discus to go along with the blue one her mother bought her. Hall, a big fan of the Disney movie “Hercules,” had to name her implements of discus destruction.

“The black one’s name is Hercules and the blue one’s name is Poseidon,” she said.

Last April, she finally made that 100-foot throw, and in May, at Hollis-Brookline, it happened.

“I was feeling really good that day,” Hall said. “I just saw it fly, and I was in shock with myself.”

She knew it when she threw it: a new ConVal school record of 103’11”.

Off to the side, Aborn jumped with joy, and tears streamed the cheeks of both athlete and coach.

“It was such a happy moment that I finally did it,” Hall said.

Now in the spring of her senior season, Hall hopes to extend her school record with one more monster toss. 

“I really want to rebreak that, get it higher, so it’s harder for others,” Hall said. The wet weather this season meant fewer opportunities to get out and let it fly, but she’s ready.

“Recently it’s been really nice out and I’ve been hitting some really big ones,” Hall said. “I see good potential there to rebreak the school record.”

Hall will have a shot at her goal on Saturday, when ConVal competes at the Division II track and field championship at UNH, and perhaps another opportunity, if she qualifies for the Meet of Champions.

“I’m hoping with those two extra meets to get it at one of those,” Hall said. “I used to be kind of timid around the bigger meets, but I got past it and just zone into my own space, and once I step into the circle it’s just all about me and the circle.”

After high school, Hall plans to attend the University of New Haven and walk onto the track team there.

“Their school record’s only 115’, so that’s definitely breakable for me,” Hall said. “The majority of their throwers only throw in the 90s right now.”

At New Haven, Hall plans to study forensic science, another product of Brock Lambert’s ConVal class that has spawned several aspiring scientists, or in Hall’s case, a possible medical examiner or coroner.

“I ended up just falling in love with it,” Hall said, “I took an independent study in it, and took online classes about it, just delved into it and then came to the realization that I wanted to be a forensic pathologist and do autopsies…My dad was a butcher when I was growing up, so it was like I grew up with dead animals, cutting open dead animals, and I never really had a problem with it, wasn’t squeamish or  anything...We’ll see when the moment comes.”




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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