Freeman breaks 30-year shot put record

Freeman breaks 30-year shot put record

By Symone Woolridge

When sophomore thrower Josh Freeman broke the indoor shot put record Saturday just as his throwing coach John Smith did 30 years ago, they each had one special person in the crowd.

It was pure coincidence that Freeman’s father and Smith’s father witnessed their son’s record-breaking throws that changed SIU history.

Freeman and his Saluki teammates spent their Saturday at the Notre Dame Invitational, where both men and women’s teams finished in third place.


The Salukis walked away with six event wins — four of the six coming from field athletes.

Freeman threw a personal best of 62 feet and surpassed the Salukis top all-time indoor record, which was set by Smith during his time as an SIU All-American.

Smith said he is extremely happy with the Salukis performance.

“It took me four and a half years to set that record,” he said. “And my father was there to see it on his birthday. Josh’s dad walked in before he took that throw and broke that record.”

Freeman’s family was running late for the meet. The normal two-hour drive to Notre Dame was extended to four hours because of weather conditions. Freeman did not think they would make it before his turn, because the event started 45 minutes early.

Right before his last throw, and record-breaking toss, Freeman’s father walked in.

“The meet basically ended after the shot,” Freeman said. “So he was only there for maybe 30 minutes at the most and he told me the trip was worth it even though he drove all that way just to stay for a half an hour.”


Freeman said he could not have done it without his coach pushing him.

“Even though it has my name on that record, he still had a lot to do with it,” Freeman said. “I’m grateful for [Smith] and his coaching, we’ve been talking about the record for a while and it’s nice to finally get that under my belt and out of the way.”

Freeman was not the only Saluki thrower to perform well. Junior thrower DeAnna Price blew away her competition despite knee pains.

Price won the women’s weight throw by throwing 67 feet to solidify her first place spot. Price said she was excited to throw that far even through the discomfort. She said she is also content with her start of the season’s performance.

“I’m doing really well in the shots,” Price said. “I never really expected that to be one of my strong events but after throwing 53 feet before, I’m like ‘okay this will work’.”

Four teams competed in the invitational. The SIU women calculated 133 points but were 40 points behind second place finisher Michigan State University. The SIU men tallied 112 points but fell short 59 points to second place finisher and host the University of Notre Dame.

Finishing second in weight throw was sophomore Sophia Lozano, throwing 65 feet. Freshman Kyle Landon finished first in high jump setting a personal best record of seven feet.

Landon is now ranked 13th in the nation, and is also tied for fifth all-time in the SIU indoor high jump.

Senior jumper Kenya Culmer finished first in her event as well. The Saluki finished in the top spot after clearing five feet in the high jump. This is Culmer’s second consecutive first place win.

Junior mid-distance runner Mobola Rotibi finished first in the women’s 1000-meter run, sprinting to a time 2 minutes, 55.1 seconds.

Smith said the Salukis had a great turnout overall. The track and field team will be back on the road Friday to compete in Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Ind.

“We have to just keep training hard and keep trying to make personal best,” Smith said. “We have to do that every weekend.”

Symone Woolridge can be reached at [email protected] on twitter @swoolridge_DE or ext. 536-3311 ext. 269