Ole Miss Thrower Raven Saunders a Finalist for College Track & Field’s Highest Honor
OXFORD, Miss. – It’s been a long wait, but the Bowerman Award ceremony recognizing the best college track & field man and woman of 2016 is almost here.
Raven Saunders had a sophomore season to remember in her first year as an Ole Miss Rebel, and she is one of three female finalists for the Bowerman, along with Texas sprinter Courtney Okolo and Georgia jumper Keturah Orji. Men’s finalists are Donavan Brazier (Texas A&M), Edward Cheserek (Oregon) and Jarrion Lawson (Arkansas).
The Bowerman Award will be handed out Friday night at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida, at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort and Spa. John Anderson, a fan-favorite ESPN personality, will be back emceeing The Bowerman for the second year in a row. Fans can watch the presentation of The Bowerman live at 6 p.m. CT exclusively here: &job=2725223&ymlink=68240647&finalurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbit%2Ely%2F2dWRhwP">http://bit.ly/2dWRhwP on FloTrack, free of charge.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Saunders is the first Ole Miss athlete to be named a Bowerman Award finalist and the first female thrower to be named a finalist for the eight-year-old award.
Although the trophy is only for the athletes’ accomplishments during the 2016 indoor and outdoor collegiate seasons, Saunders went on to represent Team USA at the Rio Olympics and placed fifth in the shot put just after her 20th birthday. She also won gold for Team USA at the NACAC U-23 Championships in El Salvador.
Here is a list of a few of her major achievements in 2016:
– Broke a 33-year-old collegiate record with her NCAA outdoor shot put title (19.33m/63-5)
– 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
– Also broke the indoor collegiate shot put record with her mark of 19.23m/63-1.25
– Won SEC indoor and outdoor shot put titles, breaking the meet record outdoors (18.58m/60-11.5)
– Claimed SEC Commissioner’s Trophy for most points scored at the league outdoor meet (21 points – 1st shot, 2nd discus, 6th hammer)
– Ranks No. 4 in the world this year and No. 7 in U.S. history in the women’s shot put
– Has finished first in 15 of 17 shot put competitions in 2016
– Indoor and outdoor season combined, 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
– Broke Ole Miss records in the indoor shot, outdoor shot, discus, weight throw, and No. 2 in the hammer throw
– First team USTFCCCA All-American outdoor, second team indoor
– USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year
– Two-time National Athlete of the Week (first in Ole Miss history)
– Five-time SEC Athlete of the Week
– First Ole Miss athlete, male or female, to win an SEC indoor or outdoor shot put title
– First Ole Miss athlete, male or female, to be named an indoor All-American in the shot put
– First Ole Miss woman to be named an outdoor All-American in the shot put
If Saunders is awarded the Bowerman Trophy, she will become the…
– Youngest winner in award history.
– First sophomore winner in award history.
– First thrower to win the award.
– First winner from Ole Miss.
– Second SEC female winner.
ABOUT THE BOWERMAN
The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.
Oregon’s Jenna Prandini and Florida’s Marquis Dendy are the reigning winners of The Bowerman, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman.
Past winners include Olympic gold medalist, four-time World Champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton (2010), 10,000-meter Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp (2009), 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters Jenny Simpson (2009), 2013 100-meter hurdles World Champion Brianna Rollins (2013) as well as 2012 Olympic high jump bronze medalist and 2015 World Champion Derek Drouin (2013).