Sophomore Vanja Spaic has earned the Top Dog of the Week honors for setting a new personal record at the Bulldog Invitational over the weekend with just her second throw that landed at 49.15 meters (161-3). Spaic is now ninth on Fresno State’s all-time javelin records in women’s track and field.
DG: How did you end up at Fresno State?
VS: A lot of colleges recruited me, but the coach from Fresno State, ex-coach Chris Baptista, recruited me. He found me, and that’s how I came here. When he recruited me, I talked with him about everything. And I liked the conditions here, and the weather here.
DG: How did Baptista discover you?
VS: He had a friend originally from Hungary who is coaching in America, and he told him about me. He found me from the European Championships results. They are always looking for new athletes to recruit, so he recommended me to him.
DG: Is it difficult for you to be away from your family for nine months out of the year?
VS: It is difficult, but I talk with them often. I don’t have any problems because I know why I am here. I know my goals, and I’m not thinking in a negative way, so it’s fine.
DG: How did you get started with javelin throwing?
VS: When I was small, I tried everything. I did long jump, ran the 100-meter and other events, and I tried javelin when I was 13 years old. I continued doing javelin, long jump and everything. In the end, javelin was the best event for me. I went to my first competition and won, so I just kept doing it.
DG: How did it feel to get a personal best and place first last weekend at the Bulldog Invitational?
VS: It felt great. I got a personal record and set the national record back home. I’m satisfied, but I know I can do better. I want to throw over 50 meters, so I’m just looking forward. I’m satisfied, but not done. I want to break 50 meters, and I want to break the school record of 51.
DG: So you set the national record also for Bosnia and Herzegovina?
VS: Yes, I have been the record holder for Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2014, so each time I break my record, I break the national record. I just want to go for more and hit the European standard for back home, which is 50 meters.
DG: What is your favorite thing about being an athlete at Fresno State?
VS: I like how it is organized. Here, I can study and train in the same time that I don’t have at home. It feels great because at the same time I can do what I like the most, which is track and field, and study and be able to get my college degree.
DG: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
VS: I like our Serbian girl, Ivana Spanovic. She’s right now the best long jumper in the world. She was third in the Olympic Games, and is one of the best long jumpers ever. She’s really inspirational.
DG: What are the biggest differences from living in Bosnia and America?
VS: Everything is very different. Here, you have more opportunities for everything. It’s different. My hometown is very small, and you don’t get a chance to try each sport, whatever you want. Here, you have everything. It’s better for general conditions of life here, and sports especially. Back home, I didn’t have anything.
DG: How do you like living in Fresno?
VS: I like it. It’s nice. But most of the time I just focus on training and studying, so I don’t go out too often. I like the weather here the most. I like warm weather, and I like sunny days, as it is here.
DG: Is there anything here that reminds you of home?
VS: Yes, the church that I go to, St. Peter Serbian Orthodox Church. Also, my hometown is very close to the ocean, so living here reminds me a little of that.