Saunders’ win today ensures her a spot on Team USA for the Pan-American Junior Championships, held in Edmonton, Canada from July 31-Aug. 2.
The USA Senior and Junior national meets will be held simultaneously this week in Eugene.
James earns Honorable Mention All-American status for his finish.
Price didn't need her last throw to win, but proceeded to shatter the NCAA meet record on the 8th-best toss in NCAA history at 71.49m (234-06).
Saunders was in third on her last throw, but ended up winning the NCAA title by two feet.
Photos from Day One of the MVC Outdoor Championships in Normal, Ill.; May 15, 2015
Photos from Day Three of the 57th running of the historic Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 18, 2015.
Photos from Day Two of the 2015 SIU Invitational at the SIU Recreation Center, Feb. 7, 2015.
Office Phone: 618-453-5460
Email Head Coach Connie Price-Smith
|Price-Smith holding her 2010 MVC women's Coach of the Year award.|
|Price-Smith prepares for a shot put attempt.|
A four-time Olympian and one of the most decorated athletes Southern Illinois has produced, Connie Price-Smith enters her 13th season as head coach at her alma mater. After spending her first three years as the head women's coach, Price-Smith took over the combined men's and women's program in 2004-05 and has since kept SIU track and field among the top programs in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Under Price-Smith, a 1990 Saluki Hall of Fame inductee, SIU's women's team has won four conference titles and finished a program-best ninth in the nation at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships -- the third best finish of either gender in SIU history. A four-time MVC Coach of the Year, Price-Smith has coached SIU athletes to a combined 155 MVC individual titles, 42 All-American honors and five individual NCAA champions during her time as both the head women's coach and at the helm of the combined program.
The 2013 season saw the opening and dedication of Saluki track and field's new facility, the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area -- the first landmark on SIU's campus to be named after an African-American woman. Under her watch in 2013 the Salukis added two more All-Americans (J.C. Lambert and DeAnna Price), three second-team All-American honors (Kim Fortney x2, Bradley Sauer) and eight more MVC individual champions.
The Price-Smith led Salukis continued their MVC dominance in 2012, notching 16 more MVC Individual Championships, five All-Americans, an MVC Track and Field Most Valuable Player (Jeneva McCall, Indoor), an NCAA Runner-Up (J.C. Lambert, weight throw) and two more individual national championships across both the indoor and outdoor season.
The Saluki men took the Missouri Valley indoor conference title, claiming four event titles to edge out Indiana State. The championship was the first for the men in 20 years and was the fifth MVC team championship won under Price-Smith's tutelage.
Senior thrower Jeneva McCall brought the Salukis to national prominence with her two individual national championships in the weight throw and hammer throw. McCall recorded five MVC event championships in 2012 alone, which gave her 15 total titles during her career at Southern.
The 2011 season saw both the Saluki men's and women's squads take second place at the MVC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, winning a combined 23 individual conference titles between the two seasons. The teams also garnered a combined six All-American honors in 2011.
The 2011 indoor season was highlighted by senior Jeff Schirmer winning MVC Most Valuable Athlete honors for scoring the most points on the men's side at the MVC Championships, while junior Jeneva McCall was named Most Outstanding Field Athlete for the women. SIU sent five athletes to the NCAA Indoor Finals, where Salukis took home four All-American honors.
Schirmer followed up with another Most Valuable Athlete nod at the MVC Outdoor Championships, while McCall was again named Most Outstanding Field Athlete. Fourteen Salukis qualified for the NCAA Regionals with five advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Finals, earning five All-American honors.
Salukis earned three of the four available MVC Elite 18 honors for track and field in 2011 as Lucas Cherry (men's outdoor), Toni Whitfield (women's outdoor) and Emily Toennies (women's indoor) earned the award. Toennies was also awarded the MVC's prestigious Emerson Excellence Award.
In 2010, Price-Smith led SIU track and field to one of the best seasons in recent memory, with seven different athletes earning 12 NCAA All-American honors, McCall winning the national championship in the discus and the women's team finishing ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In addition, the women's team won the MVC Outdoor Championship for a second consecutive season as Price-Smith earned her fourth MVC Coach of the Year honor. McCall became the first Saluki in program history to earn All-America honors in five events in the same season.
The 2009 season saw the SIU women's team sweep the MVC Indoor and Outdoor titles with Price-Smith earning women's Coach of the Year honors for both seasons.
Between 2005 and 2008, the SIU women's team advanced athletes to both the NCAA Outdoor and Indoor Championships each season, finishing in the top 25 nationally four times. The 2007 and 2008 women's indoor team finished 19th and 17th in the nation, respectively, thanks to Southern's only female back-to-back national champion, Brittany Riley (weight throw). The 2008 outdoor team finished in a tie for 25th nationally, the program's best finish until the 2010 season.
In addition to her duties at SIU, Price-Smith has been involved in coaching at the international level for USA Track and Field since 2004. She served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2004 IAAF World Junior championships, the 2005 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2006 World Cup. Price-Smith served as Team USA's head coach at the 2007 Pan American Games before serving on her first Olympics coaching staff the following year as an assistant women's coach for throws at the 2008 Beijing Games. She most recently served as head women's coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships, assistant women's coach for throws at the 2012 London Olympics and the head women's coach at the 2013 World University Games in Russia -- where former Saluki Jeneva McCall became the first American woman to ever medal in the hammer throw with her gold medal victory.
Price-Smith began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State after retiring from a successful 15-year career as a world-class thrower. In addition to competing in the Olympics in 2000 (Sydney), 1996 (Atlanta), 1992 (Barcelona) and 1988 (Seoul), Price-Smith is a 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus.
All told, Price-Smith won 18 outdoor national titles, seven indoor titles -- including five Olympic trials championships -- during her post-collegiate career. Her world rankings in the shot put in 1995 (6th), 1996 (5th), 1997 (6th), 1998 (3rd), 1999 (7th) and 2000 (3rd) made her the first U.S. woman to be world-ranked in the shot put for six consecutive seasons.
In 1992, Price-Smith became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at an Olympic trial in 32 years. In 1995, she became the first U.S. woman in 35 years to win a World Championship medal in the shot put after winning the silver in the shot put -- still the highest finish by an American woman ever in the shot. Though Price-Smith never won an Olympic medal, her fifth-place finish in the shot put at the 1996 Atlanta Games is the highest finish by a U.S. woman in the event since 1960.
Ironically, Price-Smith only competed for the Saluki track and field team for one season after wrapping up a successful four-year basketball career at SIU. From 1980-84, Price-Smith was a center for the Salukis under coach Cindy Scott.
A two-time All-Gateway Conference selection, Price-Smith scored 1,271 points and pulled down 744 rebounds during her basketball career. She still ranks in the top 10 in school history in career scoring, rebounding, rebound average, field goal percentage, free throws made and free throws attempted. Most impressively, her school-record .650 field-goal percentage her junior season (1982-83) led the entire nation.
Price-Smith threw the shot put for the first time as a senior at the urging of former SIU track and field standout John Smith, whom she married in 1990 and now coaches alongside. She quickly became dominant in the shot put and discus, winning MVC indoor and outdoor titles in the shot put in 1985. She ranks fifth in SIU history in the discus, eighth in the outdoor shot put and ninth in the indoor shot put.
In addition to being inducted into the SIU Hall of Fame in 1990, Price-Smith also received the SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and was named the Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction in 2007. She was also selected for induction to the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 2012 as an Institutional Great. Most recently, Price-Smith became the second Saluki to be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
Connie Price-Smith Track and Field Career Highlights
Four-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000)
Finished fifth in the shot put in 1996, four and one-half inches away from a bronze medal
1996 finish was the highest for an American in the shot since 1960 (Earlene Brown, third, Rome)
Her fifth-place throw of 63-00.50 was the longest throw ever by an American in the Olympics
Ended her career as one of only 14 female athletes and one of only 30 US athletes of either gender ever to compete in four Olympiads
Five-time Olympic Trials champion (three shot put titles, two discus titles)
Won every US shot put title from 1992-99
Made every US team for 15 years from her first season in 1987
In total, owns 18 USA outdoor national titles, seven indoor titles
Ended career with more national titles in the throws than any woman in US history (25)
Set the USATF National Outdoor meet record in the shot put (19.60m/64-03.75)
In 1992, became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at the Olympic Trials in 32 years (1960, Earlene Brown)
No thrower has doubled at the Olympic trials since
First woman to double (win both SP and DT) at national meet in 30 years; did so three times (1990, 1993, 1994)
Best female doubler in US history, 15th-best ever in the world
Still holds the USATF National Outdoor meet record in the shot put (19.60m/64-03.75)
Only American woman to be world-ranked in six consecutive seasons
Seven-time international medalist (Pan-American Games (4x), IAAF World Championships (1x), IAAF World Cup (1x), Goodwill Games (1x))
12-time IAAF World Championship qualifier
1995 silver medalist at the IAAF Indoor World Championships (shot put)
1995 WC medal was and is the highest medal for an American woman ever in the shot put; first since 1960 (Earlene Brown)
Only American thrower to ever make seven Grand Prix Finals
In the shot put, made 76 throws over 19 meters (62-05.00) and five over 64 feet
In the discus, made 48 throws over 200 feet and nine over 210 feet
Shot put personal best: 19.60m (64-03.75)
Discus personal best: 64.82m (212-08)
Connie Price-Smith Basketball Career Highlights
Was a member of the Saluki women's basketball team from 1980-84
Her junior season (1982-83), she led the nation in field goal percentage at .650 -- an all-time SIU single-season record
Ranked tied for sixth all-time in scoring (1,271)
Fifth all-time in field goal percentage (.571)
Seventh all-time in rebounding (744)
Connie Price-Smith Coaching Career Highlights
Saluki Track and Field head coach from 2004 to present; Saluki Women's Track and Field coach from 2001-04
Five-time MVC Coach of the Year (2005 & 2009 indoor, 2009 & 2010 outdoor, 2012 indoor)
Five MVC team championships (2005 & 2009 women's indoor, 2009 & 2010 women's outdoor, 2012 men's indoor)
Coached 42 All-Americans and five NCAA national champions
Coached 155 MVC champions and 15 MVC Most Valuable Athletes
Miscellaneous Awards and Honors
St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame (2014)
MVC Hall of Fame (2012)
Drake Relays Hall of Fame (2003)
Saluki Hall of Fame (1990)
SIU Distinguished Alumni Award (2001)
SIU Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction (2007)
In 2013, Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area were dedicated, the first facility on SIU's campus named after an African-American female
|MVC Indoor Finish||Men||Women|
|MVC Outdoor Finish||Men||Women|
CONNIE PRICE-SMITH THROWING CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
1988 (Seoul): 16th discus, 18th shot
1992 (Barcelona): 20th discus
1996 (Atlanta): 5th shot
2000 (Sydney): 16th shot
Five-time Olympic trials champion:
1988 (Indianapolis): 1st discus, 3rd shot
1992 (New Orleans): 1st shot, 1st discus
1996 (Atlanta): 1st shot
2000 (Sacramento): 1st shot
IAAF Outdoor World Championships Finishes:
1987 (Rome): 12th, discus
1991 (Tokyo): 11th, shot
1995 (Gothenburg): 9th, shot
1997 (Athens): 5th, shot
1999 (Seville): 11th, shot
IAAF Indoor World Championships Finishes:
1989 (Budapest): 10th, shot
1991 (Seville): 9th, shot
1993 (Toronto): 9th, shot
1995 (Barcelona): 2nd, shot (silver medal)
1997 (Paris): 6th, shot
1999 (Maebashi): 4th, shot
2001 (Lisbon): 10th, shot
Four-time Pan American Games medalist:
1987 (Indianapolis): 3rd discus (bronze medal)
1991 (Havana): 2nd shot (silver medal)
1995 (Mar del Plata): 1st shot (gold medal)
1999 (Winnipeg): 1st shot (gold medal)
IAAF World Cup (now the IAAF Continental Cup) finishes:
1989 (Barcelona): 8th shot, 7th discus
1992 (Havana): 4th shot, 7th discus
1994 (London): 4th shot
1998 (Johannesburg): 3rd shot (bronze medal)
Goodwill Games finishes (discontinued in 2005):
1990 (Seattle): 7th shot, 8th discus
1994 (Saint Petersburg): 6th shot, 9th discus
1998 (New York City): 2nd shot (silver medal)
2001 (Brisbane): 8th shot
IAAF Grand Prix Finals (discontinued in 2002):
1991 (Barcelona): 8th shot
1992 (Turin): 8th discus
1993 (London): 7th shot
1994 (Paris): 8th discus
1995 (Monte Carlo): 6th shot
1997 (Fukoka): 5th shot
1999 (Munich): 3rd shot
2001 (Melbourne): 6th shot
World University Games finishes:
1987 (Zagreb): 4th discus, 7th shot