Leaders are everywhere, but it takes a special person to stand out and show their true colors. Ultimately, leadership can be shown in a multitude of ways. Leaders must be able to show inspiration, positive impact and, most importantly, passion.
K-State track and field has found that leader in thrower Janee’ Kassanavoid, a senior in nutrition and health. Kassanavoid works constantly to improve, and makes sure no one is left behind while working towards the next goal.
In high school, Kassanavoid earned the title of three-time Missouri Class 3 & 4 state medalist. Also during that time, she obtained three Kansas City Interscholastic conference titles in shot put, as well as two in discus.
After high school, Kassanavoid enrolled at Johnson County Community College to further improve as a thrower.
While participating in one season at JCCC, Kassanavoid garnered NJCAA All-American and All-Region VI Performer awards. Shortly after, she transferred to K-State for the next big thing.
Recruited throwing coach Greg Watson, who has been at K-State for four years, Kassanavoid joined the team ready to set the perfect example from day one.
([Janee’) is definitely one of our leaders of this group,” Watson said. “She’s a good leader and is someone to be admired. She’s a good example of how to do it and how to do it right.”
From the start, Watson says Kassanavoid has been a great role model for all newcomers.
“She doesn’t complain about any of the training, she puts her head down and gets to work,” Watson said. “She’s going to be a role model for a lot of the freshmen. Everyone on the team has all seen her progress from when she came in until now.”
Recently, she competed in the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 10, where she threw a 20.51-meter weight-throw and placed second.
Kassanavoid’s season best was at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational, where she placed first, throwing a 21.38-meter in the women’s weight-throw. This throw was also the second best in school history, just three centimeters shy of the school record.
“I am always ready to take on the next best thing, I always have a goal to achieve at the next tournament. My newest goal is to beat the school record, which is 21.41-meters, and I’m going to push myself harder to achieve it,” Kassanavoid said.
Overall, Kassanavoid said she is happy with her season, but continues to look for ways to improve as an athlete.
“Comparing this year from my past, I have focused more on understanding the event of hammer and weight throws, it is a tough mental workout that can be really frustrating,” Kassanavoid said.
Carrying on legacies and making them her own is something Kassanavoid said she is happy she can build on. Coming into K-State from a large family has inspired her to work harder to make her family name more known and dominant.
“Being from a small town, my siblings and I worked hard for the legacy of our last name,” Kassanavoid said. “Coming to K-State has made it so I can leave my own mark in my own way, but also be able to work hard so I can make it more memorable for both myself and others.”
Making it to Indoor Nationals is a huge goal for many individuals on the team. The competition is fast approaching, taking place March 6-10 in College Station, Texas.
“Since it is my last season, Coach and I have been pushing for nationals. This would be my first time at the national indoor competition, and I really want to make it my own,” Kassanavoid said.
Fellow hammer and weight thrower, Brady Grunder, senior in criminology, said she wishes to achieve the same goal as Kassanavoid.
“I would also like to make nationals,” Grunder said. “Getting mentally and physically prepared is a big thing, it just takes patience, time and effort.”
Leadership is something that Kassanavoid has shown in her past years at K-State. She has proven her capability not only to her coaches, but to her teammates as well.
“I would explain Janee’ as a hard worker, she is extremely dedicated and has shown that hard work pays off,” Grunder said.
Kassanavoid said she has made it a top goal to inspire others and hopes to leave her mark on the track and field team.
“I always strive to make an impact on my teammates, I want them to know that hard work to pays off,” said Kassanavoid.
The team will be at Ahearn Field House on Feb. 17, where they will host the Steve Miller Open. This will be the final indoor meet before the Big 12 Championship.