Ole Miss Alum Wins Fourth World Outdoor Title, Eighth Global Championship
Rising Senior Raven Saunders Advances in Shot Put
Six Members of Rebel Family Competing in London
Ole Miss Alum Sam Kendricks Wins Pole Vault, Current Rebel Raven Saunders Shot Put
Competing for Chance to Represent Team USA at IAAF World Championships
CAREER: Only woman in NCAA history with more than two 19-meter shot puts, having done so seven times entering her senior year … Boasts six of the top nine shot puts in NCAA women’s indoor history.
SUMMER: Won her first U.S. shot put title in Sacramento, California, with a personal-best throw of 19.76m/64-10 that ranks her fourth-best in American history … Qualified for her second straight berth on the Team USA roster for a global senior championship … Placed 10th in the shot put at the World Championships in London (17.86m/58-7.25).
OUTDOOR: 2017 Bowerman Award semifinalist … Placed fourth in the shot put at the NCAA Championships (17.47m/57-3.75), earning USTFCCCA First Team All-America honors … Did not compete at the SEC Championships … Produced a season-best shot put of 18.51m/60-8.75 at the Joe Walker Invitational, which smashed the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex record and earned her SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week … Discus SB of 54.91m/180-2 and hammer SB of 55.61m/182-5.
INDOOR: Won her third NCAA shot put title in record-breaking fashion … Her winning throw of 19.56m/64-2.25 (on her sixth and final attempt of the meet) broke her own collegiate record … She also had a 19.20m/63-0 throw on her fourth attempt … Moved up to a No. 4 ranking in U.S. women’s indoor shot put history … Broke the NCAA indoor meet record and Texas A&M facility record … NCAA shot put series went 18.31, 17.98, 18.04, 19.20, 18.10, 19.56 … USTFCCCA Women’s Indoor Co-National Field Athlete of the Year (with Georgia’s Keturah Orji) … USTFCCCA First Team All-American in both the shot put and weight throw, an event in which she finished seventh at NCAAs with a toss of 20.81m/68-3.25) … SEC Champion in the shot put with a meet-record throw of 19.07m/62-6 … SEC shot put series went 17.10, 19.07, 18.48, 18.43, F, 18.50 … All-SEC first team … Placed fourth in the weight throw (21.36m/70-1) at the SEC Championships … Named SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after her season debut shot put victory at the Commodore Invitational in which she threw 19.10m/62-8 to become the first NCAA woman to ever eclipse 19 meters in January … Went undefeated on the season in the shot put and set a meet record in six of seven competitions.
SUMMER: Placed fifth in the women’s shot put at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, heaving a school-record and personal-best throw of 19.35m/63-6 on her last attempt … That mark moved her up to eighth all-time among American women in the shot put … Youngest woman in the Olympic shot put field … Silver medalist in the shot put at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon (19.24m/63-1.5) … Gold medalist in the shot put at the NACAC U-23 Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador (meet-record 18.49m/60-8).
INDOOR AND OUTDOOR COMBINED: Finished first in 15 of 17 shot put competitions in 2016 … Broke a meet record 10 times, facility record seven times, school record six times, SEC record five times and NCAA record twice in the shot put … Produced the 10 farthest shot puts by an NCAA woman in 2016.
OUTDOOR: Won an NCAA shot put title for the third time in her college career and first time as a Rebel with a collegiate-record heave of 19.33m/63-5, breaking a 33-year-old record previously set by Arizona’s Meg Ritchie in 1983 (18.99m/62-3.75) … 2016 Bowerman Award Finalist and Honda Award Finalist … First NCAA shot put champion in Ole Miss history … Claimed the 15th individual national championship in school history … First woman in NCAA history to surpass 19 meters in the outdoor shot put … Defeated the NCAA outdoor runner-up by 4 feet, 3.75 inches … USTFCCCA First Team All-American in the shot put … First Ole Miss woman to be named an outdoor All-American in the shot put … SEC shot put champion with a meet-record throw of 18.58m/60-11.5 … First Ole Miss athlete, male or female, to win an SEC outdoor shot put title … Claimed SEC Commissioner's Trophy for most points scored at the league outdoor meet (21 points - 1st shot, 2nd discus, 6th hammer) … All-SEC first team … Broke the school record in the discus (56.85m/186-6) and her first school record in the outdoor shot put (18.75m/61-6.25) at the Alabama Relays, earning her SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week … Debuted at No. 2 in the school record books in the hammer throw (57.97m/190-2), placing sixth at the SEC Championships … Won eight of nine outdoor collegiate shot put competitions and claimed meet victories in the discus three times and hammer throw once … SEC Academic Honor Roll.INDOOR: Had an historic first season as an Ole Miss Rebel, breaking the all-time indoor women’s shot put collegiate record with a heave of 19.23m/63-1.25 at the Iowa State Classic … That was the best shot put – indoor or outdoor – for any NCAA woman until she broke her own mark at the NCAA Outdoor Championships … Threw 19.23m and 19.02m to become the first woman in NCAA history to throw 19 meters twice in one competition … The mark of 19.23m moved her up to No. 5 all-time among U.S. women in the indoor shot put … USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year … First Ole Miss athlete to receive USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week honors (did so twice) … First Ole Miss athlete to be named SEC Field Athlete of the Week four times in a single season … Placed 12th in the shot put at the NCAA Championships (16.59m/54-5.25), earning USTFCCCA Second Team All-America accolades … Produced the best 12 shot puts in the nation leading up to the NCAA meet … SEC Champion in the shot put (17.28m/56-8.5) … First Ole Miss woman to win an SEC shot put title … All-SEC first team … Placed 10th in the weight throw (17.85m/58-6.75) at the SEC meet … Broke the school record in the weight throw with a heave of 20.78m/68-2.25 at the Meyo Invitational, ranking her among the top 20 in the NCAA in 2016 … Set a school, meet or facility record at almost every meet of the indoor season.
BEFORE OLE MISS: As a freshman at Southern Illinois, Saunders claimed a Pan American Junior title, a USATF Junior title, two NCAA titles, two Missouri Valley Conference titles, two American Junior records, two SIU records and four MVC records … became the first American Junior to ever break 18 meters in the shot put, a feat she replicated numerous times … won a gold medal in the shot put at the 2015 Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with a meet-record throw of 18.27m/59-11.25 … U.S. Junior Champion in the shot put for the second straight year with a throw of 17.01m/55-9.75 … made the finals and placed eighth overall at the USATF Senior Outdoor Championships with a toss of 17.85m/58-7.75 … claimed the second NCAA title of her freshman year at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, coming from behind to win the shot put on her last attempt with an American Junior, MVC and SIU record throw of 18.35m/60-2.5 … MVC outdoor champion in the shot put (18.12m/59-5.5) and also placed seventh in the hammer throw (53.85m/176-8) and ninth in the discus (47.69m/156-5) … in addition to her conference and national titles, she won three outdoor meet titles in the shot put and one in the discus … initially broke the SIU outdoor shot put record with a mark of 18.23m/59-9.75 at the Mt. SAC Relays … first place in the discus at the Big Blue Classic with a season-best mark of 51.21m/168-0 that ranks her sixth in the SIU record books … NCAA Indoor Champion in the shot put with an enormous mark of 18.62m/61-1.25 that bettered her own American Junior, MVC and SIU records and moved her up to No. 4 in NCAA history … took the lead on her first toss and held it until LSU’s Tori Bliss passed her in the fifth round, before Saunders capped her win in dramatic fashion with the huge final throw … became the first freshman in available records to win an NCAA shot put crown … MVC Champion in the shot put with a heave of 17.98m/59-0, while placing ninth in the weight throw (17.58m/57-8.25) … broke the American Junior, MVC and SIU shot put record at the Fred Wilt Invitational with a mark of 17.99m/59-0.25 … originally broke the American Junior shot put record with a throw of 17.64m/57-10.5 at the SIU Indoor Invitational … in addition to conference and national shot put titles, she claimed four indoor meet titles in the shot put as a freshman … recorded a season-best weight throw of 17.81m/58-5.25 to place fifth at the Fred Wilt Invitational … USTFCCCA First Team All-American in the indoor and outdoor season … four-time MVC Field Athlete of the Week during her freshman year … prior to SIU, she was the 2014 IAAF World Junior silver medalist in the shot put ... only the second American female in 10 years to medal in the shot put at the World Junior meet (two-time Olympian Michelle Carter, 2004, gold) ... World Junior prelim throw of 16.73m/54-10.75 is the furthest for an American female at the meet since Carter won the gold in 2004 on 17.55m/57-7 ... 2014 USATF Junior outdoor champion in the shot put ... 2014 Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year ... one of 12 Gatorade finalists invited to the 2014 ESPY Awards Show in Los Angeles ... all-time national high school girls record holder in the shot put several times over her senior season; her final record was 17.27m/56-08.25 ... 2014 New Balance Indoor and Outdoor National Champion in the shot put ... broke South Carolina shot put record by 11 feet ... also won the state discus title by 42 feet ... made a leap of 11 feet from her junior to her senior season thanks to employing the spin throwing technique.
PERSONAL: Born May 15, 1996 … daughter of Clarissa Saunders ... has one younger sibling, Tanzania ... enjoys playing the piano ... nicknamed the "Hulk."
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