Raven Saunders Shakes-Up the States
moves to 4th in the world coming into 2014
After watching her 2013 season best of 12,01m (39′ 5”) falling well short of her 12,92m (42′ 5”) from 2012, South Carolinian Raven Saunders (USA) decided some changes needed to be made, and made they were. The reason behind the drop, Saunders simply states, “ just wasn’t my year. I’m actually happy I did go down in distance because I wouldn’t have learned from it and be where I am now.” Sometime we need all need kick-in-the-butt to wake-up… and wake-up she did, making waves across the world from her 5′ 4¾” tall frame.
Seven months into a journey to the top of the U20 ranks, Burke High School student president and senior Saunders knocked the 4kg ball out to 15,92m (52’ 3”) in practice and 16,35m (53’ 8”) in competition this week to move into an altitude shared with west-coaster Stamatia Scarvelis (USA) and rank #6 in the world for 2013 U20 throwers. Why seven months? Because on that fateful June day Saunders ripped a 13,70m (45’) warm-up throw on the end of spin across the 7’ circle. As she had only tried the technique made famous by icon Brian Oldfield a dozen or so times she couldn’t keep the ball in the 35˚ sector pie, she still glided in meets. But after suffering through a season where she had set here sites in the 13,50m range this was a ray of sunshine.
Saunders knocked out her big mark at the NCRunners Elite Invitational in Winston-Salem. Along with the 2nd round 16,35m (53′ 8″) her series included three 52’+ sector fouls (right-side) and a 50′ 5″.
Saunders and coach Herbert Johnson decided to commit to the rotational style and that has paid off in ways few, if any, could’ve predicted. An improvement so massive that track & field guru and T&F News editor E. Garry Hill commented online, “Being a natural-born skeptic, my first reaction to a 10-foot PR improvement (which this would appear to be) is “mismeasure!” Note, Mr. Hill did not know of Saunders’ earlier near 16m mark.
So, looking forward, who will be in Eugene, Oregon USA for the U20 IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics? Only athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 on 31 December 2014 (born in 1995, 1996, 1997 or 1998) may compete… stay tuned.
U20s returning in 2014:
01.) 18,04m (59′ 2¼”) Emel Dereli (Turkey)
02.) 17,57m (57′ 7¾”) Tianqian Guo (China)
03.) 16,80m (55’ 1½”) Kätlin Piirimäe (Estonia)
04.) 16,35m (53′ 8¾”) Raven Saunders (USA)
05.) 15,89m (52′ 1¾”) Stamatia Scarvelis (USA)
06.) 15,82m (51′ 11”) Fanny Roos (Sweden)
07.) 15,76m (51′ 8½”) Ashlie Blake (USA)
08.) 15,74m (51′ 7¾”) Saily Viart (Cuba)
09.) 15,74m (51′ 7¾”) Alëna Bugakova (Russia)
10.) 15,50m (50′ 10¼”) Alena Pasechnik (Belarus)
11.) 15,40m (50′ 6¼”) Anika Nehls (Germany)