In a glorious high school competition of the highest quality, U20 high school senior Raven Saunders made the most of her cross country match-up with two future UCLA Bruins, SoCal glider Stamatia “Stam” Scarvelis and Nevada native Ashlie Blake by spinning out to 17,26m (56′ 7½”) in NYC. Saunders moves to the top of the American high school list ahead of Olympian Michelle Carter’s 16,73m (54′ 10¾”) from May 10, 2003. While these marks come as a surprise to many, Saunders has been near this mark in training.
Blake was very satisfied with her day, “I feel great about today. I came it wanting to throw a PR [52′ 8″] and I did, so I’m very happy. This is my second season indoor and my first since my freshman year. This season my goal is to throw 55’+ I think I can achieve that on the pace I’m going.” She confirmed she’ll be back in the ring again with Sanders and Scarvelis at the US Junior Nationals, adding, “I love the feeling of getting better, meeting new people and making great friends.”
West coaster Scarvelis, coming off Tuesday’s clean and bench workout at 90% max said, “The whole meet experience was new and interesting, like no other meet I’ve been to before… it was my “fun” meet for the
season. I really, really, love and enjoy great competition. All my PRs have been at large invitationals, CIF [California States Championship] or National Championships. [laughter] But today’s performance doesn’t exactly reflect that! [Being in NYC] was definitely a new and different experience. A very different type of throwing area and ring for me; but a good learning experience nonetheless.”
Veteran Coach Ken Pagel, who’s seen more than his fair share of Olympics, nevertheless came away surprised, “Wow! Such an impressive competition. Great performance by Raven. Stam‘ never got it going after Raven’s opener [56′ 7½”]. This is only March and it’s going to be a great year in the shot, so outdoors will be fun with Ashlie and Raven and Stam‘.” While Pagel and Stam’ decided a few weeks ago to make the trek east, they did not peak for it, pointing to a series of summer championships.
“Of course I’m not pleased with my performance, but to be a part of an all-time comp’, with four girls over 50′ is really something special and is something I’m really proud to be apart of” said Stam‘. “As for my personal competition I just felt slightly off and I wasn’t able to connect everything together. It’s not Christmas everyday [laughter], you win some and you lose some and I just didn’t have it today. But like I said before, I’m happy to have contributed to the strongest high school girls comp’s of all-time.”
New minted record holder Saunders, a mere two days away from her Monday morning college commitment [note: Saunders has committed to Southern Illinois and coach John Smith‘s program], knocked the greatest series in the greatest US high school shot put competition… ever. Ironically, all three are from warm weather locals, with Saunders throwing a discus PB of 47,95m (157’ 4″) last weekend. Stam‘ compared the setting to home, “I haven’t really had any experience in NYC! But I will say I love the LA year round pleasant weather. We are rather spoiled out on the west coast!”
Saunders shared, “Michelle Carter has been my idol, especially when I was a glider. When it comes to throwing, I enjoy just being in the circle. It’s just me the ball and the circle.”
Soon after the competition had wrapped-up I asked Michelle Carter if she had any guidance for the three elites, “Enjoy the experience and pace yourself. The year is going to go by fast. Keep working hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor.” As far as how she went to high school record setter to Olympian and American record holder, “Sticking to what I believe I can do and growing up. Life doesn’t stop because you a great athlete. There was still those transitional stages in life I had to face but I worked through them.” She shared memories from the sunny Austin day in 2003, “I remember just being happy. I had to make a decision about prom or staying on Austin for the State Meet I stayed in Austin and enjoyed my last State Meet as a High schooler.” We’re all glad she stayed… to bad for her date.
1.) Raven Saunders
1st 17,26m (56′ 7½”)
2nd 17,06m (55′ 11¾”)
3rd 15,79m (51′ 9¾”)
4th 16,24m (53′ 3½”)
5th 17,01m (55′ 9¾”)
2.) Ashlie Blake
1st 16.41m (53′ 10¼”)
3.) Stamatia Scarvelis
2nd 16.05m (52′ 08″)
More info as it becomes available. Word is there is video floating around out there.
As one would guess, Saunders is still well clear from breaking into the top-20 on the world all-time U20 list and a chasm away from breaking into the German youth rally.
1.) 20,54m (67′ 4¾”) Astrid Kumbernuß Germany 1989
2.) 20,24m (66′ 5″) Heidi Krieger Germany 1984
3.) 20,23m (66′ 4½”) Ilke Wyludda Germany 1988
4.) 20,12m (66′ 0¼”) Ilona Slupianek Germany 1975
5.) 20,02m (65′ 8¼”) Cheng Xiaoyan China 1994
21.) 18,76m (61′ 6¾”) Qiu Qiaoping China 1990
Read about her here. Raven Saunders Shakes-Up the States with her 16,35m (53′ 8″)
Discuss it here. 2014 U20 Female Shot Putting