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05/24/15 12:00pm
05/24/2015 12:00 PM
McGann-Mercy graduate Saśa Vann will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships this weekend. (Credit: Buffalo State Athletics)

McGann-Mercy graduate Saśa Vann will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships this weekend. (Credit: Buffalo State Athletics)

Buffalo State junior Saśa Vann received the SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award for women’s track and field for the second consecutive season. (more…)

05/09/14 2:00pm
05/09/2014 2:00 PM
McGann-Mercy graduate Saśa Vann became an All-American today in the 4 x 400 relay at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. (Credit: Buffalo State Athletics)

McGann-Mercy graduate Saśa Vann set a school record in the 400-meter dash for Buffalo State. (Credit: Buffalo State Athletics)

Saśa Vann, a former Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School athlete, claimed a pair of conference titles as Buffalo State rallied to finish second in the eight-team State University of New York Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend in Geneseo.  (more…)

03/15/14 8:04pm
03/15/2014 8:04 PM

McGann-Mercy graduate Saśa Vann became an All-American today in the 4 x 400 relay at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. (Credit: Buffalo State Athletics)

Saśa Vann, a Bishop McGann-Mercy graduate who set multiple school records for the Monarchs, became a collegiate All-American Saturday as a member of the Buffalo State 4 x 400 relay team.  (more…)

02/13/14 7:00pm
02/13/2014 7:00 PM

Sasa Vann. (Buffalo State Athletics photo)

Sasa Vann, a former Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School athlete, highlighted four school-record-setting performances by Buffalo State as the Bengals competed against one of the premier fields in the Northeast with competitors from all divisions at the recent Boston University Valentine Invitational.


04/17/13 8:00pm
04/17/2013 8:00 PM

BUFFALO STATE ATHLETICS PHOTO | Mercy graduate Sasa Vann has helped the Buffalo State 4×400 relay team to the 10th fastest time in the nation.

COLLEGE WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Vann on relay team Sasa Vann, a former runner for Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School (’12), is a member of Buffalo State’s 4×400-meter relay team, which has clocked as having the 10th-fastest time in the nation this season, 3 minutes 57.13 seconds.

COLLEGE WOMEN’S TENNIS: Bundrick named all-conference First-year player Erica Bundrick of Mattituck was one of seven Saint Michael’s College (Vt.) players to combine for a program-record nine all-conference honors. Bundrick landed a spot on both the Northeast-10 Conference third team at No. 2 singles and on the six-player NE-10 All-Rookie Team. During the regular season, she was 9-5 in singles, including 9-2 during league action, and has posted a 9-5 doubles mark, including 8-3 in the conference. Bundrick is the program’s initial first-year player to earn an all-conference nod since Alex Dalton in 2010.

PAL FOOTBALL: Registration info The Riverhead Police Athletic League is accepting registrations for football players ages 7 through 12 and cheerleaders who are grades 2 through 6 for the 2013 season. Registration may be made in person on Tuesday, April 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Human Resource Center at 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue. To register by mail, go to www.townofriverheadny.gov, Local Links, Hot Links, go to Juvenile Aid Bureau, drag the side bar down to Registrations, print the necessary forms and mail to the PAL office. Forms are also located at the PAL office at 210 Howell Avenue in Riverhead. The registration deadline is Friday, April 26.

12/09/12 2:23pm
12/09/2012 2:23 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Sasa Vann competing for Mercy last winter.

Former McGann-Mercy standout sprinter Sasa Vann began her collegiate career Saturday racing for Buffalo State at the Golden Flash Gala.

Vann raced in the 300-meter dash and placed 15th in 42.19 seconds. The race featured 40 runners. Vann’s teammate, Jazmin Dunham, finished seventh in a school-record time of 40.95.

The meet was held at Kent State University.

Vann was an all-state runner for Mercy last year in her senior season. She finished her track career at Mercy with two individual school records for the indoor season (300, long jump) and four during the outdoor season (100, 200, 400, long jump).

07/18/12 7:00pm
07/18/2012 7:00 PM

HAL HENTY PHOTO | McGann-Mercy graduate Sasa Vann, shown at the New York State Championship in June, competed in four events at a meet in Australia earlier this month.

Sasa Vann assumed it was some kind of hoax when she received a letter from Down Under Sports last fall asking if she’d be interested in running the 400-meter dash at an invitational in Australia. Vann, who graduated from McGann-Mercy High School this spring, had never heard of Down Under Sports or the Tri-Nations Meet scheduled for July.

It seemed almost too good to be true.

“We would do online meetings in the beginning,” Vann said. “We did a lot of research on it to make sure nothing would go wrong.”

After her initial fears passed, Vann found the opportunity of a lifetime awaited. After spending months fundraising for the roughly $4,500 trip, Vann flew to Brisbane at the beginning of July for a one-week stay on the east coast of Australia, about 250 miles north of Sydney.

And when it came time for competition, the track and field star did what she’s done so many times before: win.

Vann won first place in the 400, one of four events she competed in at the Down Under Championships at Griffith University Gold Coast campus. The 2 1/2 day competition featured about 300 Americans, as well as competitors from Australia, New Zealand and a few other countries.

An all-state runner last spring for the Monarchs, Vann ran 59.25 seconds in the 400 for first place in the 18-19-year-old division. She also ran on the winning 4 x 100 relay team that finished in :49.03. In the 200 dash she placed third in :25.91 and was part of the 4 x 400 relay team that also took third in 4:30.69.

“Running in July after my whole season, I wasn’t thinking I would win anything,” Vann said. “I was going more for the experience and was excited just for that. But I was happy I came home with some medals.”

Running in the relays presented a unique challenge for Vann and her teammates. The group had never competed together before and had only three days worth of practice before the competition started.

During one practice Vann said it was an off day for her and another teammate. So while two girls were going full speed, the other two treated it like a run-through.

“It was very strange,” Vann said. “We all know different ways how to do handoffs.”

But when the lights came on, their performance was flawless, Vann said, although her one teammate pulled a hamstring handing off to Vann in the finals of the 4 x 100. Their relay teams competed in the 18-19 division, even though everyone other than Vann was 17. That was a common theme throughout the relays. Many of the competitors were 17 or even younger. The winning team in the 4 x 400 featured two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old.

Vann said the racing conditions were ideal. The temperature hovered around 70 degrees and the track itself — which was nine lanes — was a good surface to run on. The only negative was that the bleachers weren’t big enough to handle the crowd, Vann said.

The competition was broken up into divisions for athletes 15 and under, then 16-17, 18-19 and 20 and over.

Vann was the only Long Island athlete from to participate. One girl from Albany and another from Syracuse were the only other New York competitors. Vann flew from New York to Dallas by herself before meeting up with several other athletes. It was then a 14-hour trip to Brisbane.

“My feet were swollen from the ride,” Vann said. “I tried to get up but it was difficult to keep moving.”

To make the trip possible, Vann had to spend a lot of time fundraising. Down Under Sports offers a set of guidelines with suggestions to help athletes get started.

Vann had her own unique idea that turned out to be her best source for funds: Recycling.

At track meets she would set up plastic bags for athletes to dump their water bottles. Collecting and returning bottles turned into a resourceful revenue stream.

“I told my mom, I’m going to do that in college,” Vann said.

She also sold T-shirts and sent out thank-you tickets to family and friends who donated, which entered them into a drawing for a free trip to Australia and Hawaii.

Just as she had been initially skeptical about the opportunity, Vann said she had to spend a lot of time assuring others it was a legitimate trip for a competition and not just a vacation.

When Vann was competing during the meet, she had an opportunity to watch many other events, some of which aren’t contested at the high school level here, such as the javelin and the hammer. There was a lot of camaraderie among the athletes, Vann said.

“It was interesting to talk to the other track girls and talk about their practices and stuff,” she said.

After returning to Long Island, Vann said she planned to take some time off before getting back into running. In the fall she’ll attend Buffalo State College where she’ll look to continue her track career.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “Half of my things are packed.”

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