NEW ORLEANS (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Rebel Olympian and star thrower for Ole Miss track & field Raven Saunders has been named to the Bowerman 2018 Women’s Preseason Watch List, the USTFCCCA announced Monday.
Saunders, who enters her final year at Ole Miss, is one of the top throwers in the history of the sport, both collegiately and in the track world at-large. Across both her Rebel career and her freshman season at Southern Illinois in 2015, Saunders has won four NCAA shot put titles and earned seven All-American honors – culminating in two NCAA records and a trip to Rio to represent Team USA at the Summer Olympics in 2016. This year she will look to become just the second woman in NCAA history to win six total NCAA shot put titles across both the indoor and outdoor seasons – potentially joining Rice’s Regina Cavanaugh, who won three indoor titles from 1984-86 and three outdoor titles from 1985-87.
Saunders enters her final season with her name stamped all over the NCAA record book. She owns six of the top-10 marks indoors in NCAA history, is one of three women to ever break 19 meters indoors and was the first to do so outdoors.
She capped 2017 with an enormous personal best of 19.76m (64-10.00) to win her first-career U.S. title and move up to fourth in U.S. history – surpassing her coach Connie Price-Smith’s 1994 mark of 19.60m (64-03.25) along the way. That win earned her a second consecutive spot on Team USA for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, where she finished 10th overall.
The Charleston, S.C., native is no stranger to the Bowerman Watch List. Saunders was a semifinalist during the 2017 season and a finalist after her superb 2016 campaign. Saunders has been a staple on the Watch List all the way back to her one season at SIU, as she received votes throughout the year as a freshman.
Ole Miss track & field opens the season this week at UAB for the Blazer Invite on Friday (Jan. 12).
Saunders Career Highlights
Overall Shot Put Career Best: 19.76m (64-10.00)
Collegiate Indoor Best: 19.56m (64-02.25)
Collegiate Outdoor Best: 19.33m (63-05.00)
• 2016 Rio Olympian, Team USA (shot put, 5th place)
• Team USA member for 2017 World Championships in London (shot put, 10th place)
• 2017 U.S. Champion (Shot Put; 19.76m/64-10.00, fourth-best in U.S. history)
• Four-time NCAA Champion (Indoor: 2015, 2017; Outdoor: 2015, 2016)
• Seven-time All-American
• One of only three women in NCAA history to break 19 meters indoors and the first to do so outdoors
• First woman in NCAA history to break 19 meters twice in the same series
• NCAA overall and meet record holder indoors at 19.56m (64-02.25) at 2017 NCAA Championships
• Owns six of the top-10 all-time NCAA marks indoors
• NCAA overall and meet record holder outdoors at 19.33m (63-05.00) at 2016 NCAA Championships
• Owns best NCAA mark out of season at 19.76m (64-10.00) at 2017 U.S. Championships
• Owns the top four throws in or out of season among collegiate athletes all-time
• Ranks fourth in U.S. history on both indoor and outdoor lists
• 2017 USTFCCCA Women’s Indoor Co-National Field Athlete of the Year
• Runner-up at 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials to earn spot on Team USA at Rio Olympics
• 2016 NACAC Championships (San Salvador) gold medalist at meet record 18.49m (60-08.00)
• Three-time SEC Champion
• 2017 Bowerman Award Semifinalist
• 2016 Bowerman Award Finalist
• 2016 Honda Award Finalist
• 2016 USTFCCCA South Region Indoor Women’s Field Athlete of the Year
• Won gold at 2015 Pan American Junior Championships at meet record 18.27m (59-11.25)
• Two-time U.S. Junior Champion
• Earned spot on Team USA for 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships
• 2014 World Junior silver medalist
• American Junior record holder indoors and outdoors
• First American Junior to ever break 18 meters in the shot put
Bowerman 2018 Women’s Preseason Watch List
Mikiah Brisco – LSU, Senior, Sprints/Hurdles
Maggie Ewen – Arizona State, R-Senior, Throws
Mady Fagan – Georgia, Senior, High Jump
Lexi Jacobus – Arkansas, Junior, Pole Vault
Sydney McLaughlin – Kentucky, Freshman, Sprints/Hurdles
Keturah Orji – Georgia, Senior, Jumps
Raven Saunders – Ole Miss, Senior, Throws
Karissa Schweizer – Missouri, Senior, Distance
Ariana Washington – Oregon, R-Junior, Sprints
Sammy Watson – Texas A&M, Freshman, Mid-Distance
Receiving Votes: Taliyah Brooks (Arkansas), Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Kentucky), Hannah Cunliffe (Oregon), Kendall Ellis (Southern California), Ednah Kurgat (New Mexico)