NCAA Champion Shot Putter Raven Saunders Leaves Ole Miss For Health Reasons

U.S. shot put champion Raven Saunders is leaving University of Mississippi track and field team due to health reasons. 

In a release on the Ole Miss website, Saunders said “Over time, I have been dealing with some personal and medical issues that have led me to come to this decision. However, I intend on returning to complete my degree from the University of Mississippi. Thank you to Rebel Nation and my Ole Miss family for your love and support over the past few years. Hotty Toddy!”

In a decorated and dominant career, Saunders set collegiate records and claimed four NCAA titles. She won the NCAA championship indoors in 2017, outdoors in 2016, and she swept both titles in 2015 while competing for Southern Illinois. Saunders leaves Ole Miss with personal collegiate bests of 19.56m (indoors) and 19.33m (outdoors), both NCAA records. 

All total, Saunders has six of the top 10 collegiate marks of all time, making her the best women’s shot putter in collegiate history.  

“While I am sad that Raven will no longer be competing for Ole Miss, I support her decision to work on herself and her medical matters,” said Ole Miss head coach Connie Price-Smith in the school’s release. “I thank her for all that she has done for our program and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors.”

Saunders was coached by Price-Smith at Southern Illinois and transferred to Ole Miss when Price-Smith took the Rebels head coaching job for the 2015-2016 school year.

Outside of collegiate competition, Saunders also thrived. She qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games and finished fifth in Rio de Janeiro. Last season, she threw a lifetime best of 19.76m to become U.S. champion. Later that summer, she finished 10th at the 2017 World Championships in London. 

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With just one weekend left to qualify for the 2020 DI NCAA Indoor Championships a staggering 61 track and field All-Americans from last year have yet to achieve a top-16 mark in 2020.

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Mondo Does It Again, Breaks Pole Vault World Record

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U.S. Indoor Women's Preview: Can Purrier Chase Down Houlihan?

The most interesting match-up of the indoor season materialized quickly. Last Saturday evening at the Millrose Games, Elinor Purrier dropped a stunning 4:16.85 mile to break the American record and dispatch a stacked field in a race that turned into a festival of personal bests and national records. It was a career-defining race for Purrier. A run fast enough to legitimately raise the question if she could beat America’s best mid-distance runner, Shelby Houlihan. This weekend at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, Purrier will have two chances (the 3000m on Friday and the 1500m on Saturday) to pull it off. 

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2020 High School Track & Field State Championships Central

2020 High School Indoor Track & Field State Championships:

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