Daily Egyptian

SIU thrower attempting to make Rio 2016 Olympics

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) set the entry standards for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Tuesday. 

Junior thrower Josh Freeman posted on Facebook that he would attempt to make the United States roster for shot put. 

“It’s the Holy Grail of track and field,” Freeman said. “You can win as many Missouri Valley Conference championships or NCAA championships as you want, but the main goal for every track athlete is to make it to the Olympics.”

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Freeman’s personal best, and SIU outdoor all-time record, of 18.95 meters is just shy of the qualifying mark of 20.50. 

“I’m hoping to get over that this year,” Freeman said. 

After qualifying, athletes still have to make the team. Freeman said two shot putters make the team, and roughly 12 to 14 Americans reached that mark last year.

“It’s going to be pretty cutthroat when it comes time to actually make the team,” he said. 

Freshman Raven Saunders will also attempt to make the team for shot put. Her best of 17.70 meters is just a 10th of a meter behind the qualifying mark of 17.80 meters. 

Junior DeAnna Price — who has the No. 4 hammer throw all time at SIU with a distance of 67.26 — will attempt to make the female hammer throw team with the qualifying mark of 71 meters. 

Former Salukis J.C. Lambert, Jeneva Stevens and Gwen Berry will all try to make the team as well. All three will compete in the hammer throw and Stevens, formerly Jeneva McCall, will also compete in the shot put.

Athletes compete at the IAAF World Indoor Championships beginning March 18, 2016 in Portland, Ore., to qualify for the Olympics, which take place Aug. 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Aaron Graff contributed to this story.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269. 

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