Saluki thrower earns bid to nationals

By Terrance Peacock

One Saluki athlete will have the opportunity to add an impressive piece of hardware to SIU’s trophy case — a national championship.

Bradley Sauer, a sophomore Saluki track and field thrower, has officially qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The Murphysboro native ranks 12th in the nation in the weight throw, and he is the only Saluki to earn a spot at the national meet. The top -16 athletes in each event qualify for the indoor championships. Sauer’s qualifying 21.17-meter throw came during the Feb. 15 Eastern Illinois University Friday Night Special, where he took one of his five 2013 weight throw titles.


The 6-foot-7, 320 pound sophomore was named All-Missouri Valley Conference for this year’s indoor season and took second in the Feb. 23-25 MVC Indoor Championships weight throw competition.

Sauer said one reason he attended the university was the Saluki throwers’ success that came before him, which pushed him to perform better.

“We’ve been one of the top programs in the nation every year, and we’ve had great throwers come through,” he said. “I just want to keep that going.”

A three-sport athlete in high school, Sauer placed All- State in track and wrestling and was a two-time football all-conference selection.

Sauer placed eighth in the state his senior year in track and said his high school throwing coach was the person who introduced him to the sport.

“He started me off in seventh grade,” he said. “If he didn’t motivate me to start throwing, I probably would never be here.”

Sauer has improved his personal best in the weight throw by more than four feet between his freshman and sophomore campaigns.


All-American and teammate J.C. Lambert was the last man to qualify for weight throw nationals. Lambert was the NCAA Runner-Up in the weight throw and missed the national title by less than three inches.

Lambert, a senior from Harrisburg, said he met Sauer when Sauer was a freshman in high school and he was a senior. He said the two wrestled against each other at nearby schools.

“That was the first time I ever had any encounter with him,” Lambert said. “A couple years later I met him at a track and field camp at SIU, and coach (John Smith) saw him and we were talking about him. That’s when coach became very interested.”

Lambert said Sauer took no time to establish his presence as a track and field team member.

“He came here and in his freshman year, he broke the school record I previously held by two feet,” Lambert said. “He broke the hammer record as well and ever since then, it was like ‘This guy is going to be good.'”

Throws coach John Smith said Sauer is light on his feet despite his stature, which sets him apart from other throwers.

“Usually when you get a big guy like that, he has a hard time turning and he has a hard time standing in the ring, but he’s really built well for throwing.” Smith said.

Smith said he classifies throwers in three categories.

“You have tractors, monster trucks, and Ferraris,” Smith said. “Brad’s a tractor. He will run you the hell over.”