From setting state records in high school volleyball to becoming a four-year starter at the University of Kansas and even playing professional volleyball overseas, Savannah Thatcher hits her marks.

Thatcher grew up in small-town Indianola, Nebraska. This community was a perfect fit for her, as it allowed Thatcher the opportunity to play a variety of sports.

“I played basketball, volleyball, and track in high school,” Thatcher said. “I didn’t have to specialize in just one thing. I was really blessed in this way, as it made me more of a well-rounded athlete.”

When Thatcher was still in high school, her coach would take the volleyball team to University of Kansas camps. By the time she was a junior, Kansas had offered Thatcher a full-ride scholarship.

Once Thatcher graduated high school, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas, to further her volleyball career.

“I really loved my experience in Kansas,” Thatcher said. “I had a great time; I got my school paid for, and I was treated really well.”

In 2009, Thatcher graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health.

After a one-year gap of no volleyball, Thatcher accepted a contract to play professionally in Slovakia.

Several months later, Thatcher moved on to play in France. She also found success competing for other teams in England and the Philippines.

“The fact that I could travel all around the world for free and play a sport that I love was a dream come true,” Thatcher said.

Eventually, Thatcher moved back to Lawrence, where she met her future husband. They went on to have five children together.

In 2012, Thatcher and her husband started their gym, CrossFit Lawrence, which they ran for 11 years.

Once COVID-19 hit, Thatcher knew it was the right time to move back home to Indianola and spend more time with her parents and friends.

However, the move back home has been nothing easy for Thatcher and her family.

Tragedy struck for Thatcher in February 2022 when her son, James, passed away at just seven weeks old.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Thatcher said. “I’m so grateful I have a fitness background; it’s a good stress relief. It’s not a good time to start working out when your child dies. But because I’ve been active my whole life, I can fall back into that habit and work through it.”

Thatcher has not competed in Track and Field for about 17 years. However, she looks forward to working towards her goal of participating in the Cornhusker State Games.

“My dad told me I should sign up for track and field at the Cornhusker State Games,” Thatcher said. “My mom used to love training me, so I’m also doing this for her. I need to push myself; I want my family and kids to see me doing something other than what they normally see me do.”

This year’s Cornhusker State Games Opening Ceremonies is set for Friday, July 15. The show begins at 8 p.m. at Seacrest Field in Lincoln. Registered athletes who come early from 4:30 – 7 p.m. can enjoy the free athlete meal at Sports Fest. Cornhusker State Games Track and Field takes place on Saturday, July 16 at the Lincoln High School Track.

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“It has been really hard these past few months,” Thatcher said. “I know when I think of James while competing, it will give me that boost of motivation that I need.”