Five Salukis to compete for Olympic bids

    SIU head coach Connie Price-Smith will be the women's throws coach for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics.

    SIU head coach Connie Price-Smith will be the women's throws coach for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics.

    June 20, 2012

    By Bill Ford

    US Olympic Trials Page

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- Four former SIU track and field athletes and one current Saluki will compete this weekend in hopes of making the 2012 London Olympics.

    Former Salukis Jeneva McCall, Gwen Berry, Brittany Riley and Jeff Schirmer will compete at the US Olympic Trials, which begin Thursday in Eugene, Ore., while sophomore Kenya Culmer will compete in the Bahamas Olympic Trials Friday and Saturday.

    McCall will compete in the women's hammer throw, discus and shot put while Berry and Riley will also compete in the women's hammer throw and Schirmer will compete in the men's 10k run. The top four finishers in those events will be invited to join Team USA in London.

    McCall, who recently wrapped up an illustrious collegiate career at SIU, is the only thrower competing in all three throwing events. Based on her qualifying marks, she ranks sixth in the field in the shot put, seventh in the hammer and 11th in the discus.

    Though this is McCall's first Olympic Trials, she has previous experience with USA Track & Field through competing at the 2010 and 2011 USATF Championships. She finished fourth in the hammer at the 2011 Championships to earn a spot on Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships.

    Berry (2008-11) ranks second in the field in the hammer based on her qualifying mark. Berry also competed in the hammer at the 2011 USATF Championships, where she finished sixth.

    Riley (2005-08) will be competing in her second Olympic Trials. She finished 11th in the hammer at the 2008 trials a year after winning the hammer throw title at the USATF Championships. The Flossmoor, Ill., native ranks 10th in the field for the 2012 trials. Riley has previous international experience at the 2007 IAAF World Championships as well as the 2007 Pan American Games and the 2005 Pan American Junior Championships.



    Schirmer (2007-11) was a three-time NCAA All-American in track and cross country at SIU. The Troy, Ill., native ranks 24th in the Olympic Trials field in the 10k.

    Culmer will compete in the high jump at the Bahamas Olympic Trials in an attempt to reach the Olympic qualifying "B" standard of 1.92 meters. Her collegiate best mark was 1.81 meters at the MVC Outdoor Championships, which broke the SIU record.

    Former SIU athlete Bianca Stuart (2006-09) has already qualified to compete for the Bahamas the Olympics. She will compete in the long jump, an event in which she holds the Bahamas national record.

    The last tack and field Saluki to compete in an Olympics was SIU head coach Connie Price-Smith, who competed for team USA in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. Price-Smith will be the women's throws coach for Team USA at the London Games.

    The following is a schedule for former SIU athletes at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Times are central.

    Thursday, June 21
    1:15 p.m. -- women's hammer throw trials (Berry, McCall, Riley)
    3:15 p.m. -- women's hammer throw finals (top 9 from trials)
    Friday, June 22
    4:20 p.m. -- women's discus qualifying (McCall)
    8:45 p.m. -- men's 10k run final (Schirmer)
    Sunday, June 24
    5:05 p.m. -- women's discus final (top 12 from qualifying)
    Thursday, June 28
    7:40 p.m. -- women's shot put qualifying (McCall)
    Friday, June 29
    5:30 p.m. -- women's shot put final (top 12 from qualifying)