It took all of five collegiate competitions for high school national record-holder Raven Saunders to take over the American Junior indoor record in the shot.
Former UCLA great Seilala Sua set the previous mark (17.46m) in 1997. Raven took over the top spot with a 17.64m heave on her sixth throw at the SIU Invitational this past Saturday.
Here is a vid of that throw:
Raven brought some serious weight room numbers when she arrived on campus last fall (245 bench, 400 squat, 200 power clean) and SIU throws coach John Smith was determined to boost those numbers even higher.
He put Saunders on a high rep routine of 10’s in bench and squats and 8’s in cleans during her first month in Carbondale and by mid-October she had benched 250 for a set of 6, squatted 375 for a set of 8, and hang cleaned 100k for a set of 8.
Coach Smith estimates that she is now 20-30% stronger than when she arrived on campus.
In terms of technique, John estimates that they have spent 95% of their throwing time teaching Raven how to use her legs. “Lots of non-reverse stands, half turns, giant steps, walking throws…also working on controlling her head. She likes to throw it harder than the shot. Heavy balls have been fixing a lot of this.”
Raven is now the fifth-ranked women’s putter in the US for the 2015 indoor season, and she seems poised to join SIU grad Jeneva McCall and recent Illinois State grad Brittany Smith in what should be a ferocious competition to represent the US in Beijing and Rio over the next two years.