Current and future Salukis excel at USATF Junior Outdoor Championships

    Freshman Freya Block

    Freshman Freya Block

    July 6, 2014

    By Tyler Wooten

    EUGENE, Ore. -- Current Saluki freshmen Franklin Adams (long jump) and Freya Block (hammer throw) -- along with SIU signee Raven Saunders (shot put) -- fared well this past weekend at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

    On Saturday, Saunders -- the Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year -- won the USA junior title in the shot put. Her victory also punched her ticket for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, which will be held in the United States for the first time ever at Hayward Field from July 22-27. The Charleston, S.C., native won by over two feet at 17.02m (55-10.25) -- a strong performance just off a superb senior season at Burke High School that included the indoor and outdoor national titles, as well as the all-time national girls high school record of 17.27m (56-08.25).

    Saunders is currently one of 12 nominees for the Gatorade National Girls Athlete of the Year Award, which will be named on July 15th at a dinner preceding The ESPY Awards on July 16th in Los Angeles. Each nominee will also attend and walk the red carpet at the ESPYs that next day.

    Block, a Saluki freshman from Neponset, Ill., narrowly missed scheduling a return trip to Eugene for the world championships as well. Block finished third in the hammer throw at a massive, four-meter personal best of 54.49m (178-09). Block needed a throw of 57.00 meters or better to qualify the minimum standard mark.

    Adams -- a freshman from West Orange, N.J., who won the MVC indoor long jump title this past season -- finished 15th in the long jump after only registering one jump of 6.75m (22-01.75) on his second attempt. In only his first season in Carbondale, Adams led SIU in both the indoor (7.36m) and outdoor (7.27m) long jump.