Four Salukis to compete at U.S. Olympic Trials

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Four former and current Salukis, including 2016 Olympians DeAnna Price and Gwen Berry, will look to punch their tickets to Tokyo and secure their spot on Team USA for the 2020 Olympic Games continuing tomorrow, June 24 at Hayward Field as part of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. The Trials, which began on June 18, resume tomorrow following back-to-back off days.

Price (hammer throw), Berry (hammer throw), Shauniece O’Neal (hammer throw) and Bri’Anna Branch (200-meter dash) are the four Salukis who will vie for spots on Team USA.

The hammer throw will take center stage Thursday at 1:25 p.m. Three Salukis both past and present will compete Thursday, with the top-12 advancing to the final, which is slated for Saturday, June 26 at 4:05 p.m.

Price will look to make Team USA for the second time in her career to further punctuate her rise up the hammer throw ranks. In 2019, she successfully defended her USATF title with an American record toss of 256′-8″ (78.24m). She followed that up with a World Championship in the event in Doha, Qatar on Sept. 28, 2019 to become the first medalist for Team USA in the event, men or women, on the world championships stage. On April 9 in her home state of Missouri, Price threw 257′-10″ (78.60m) to shatter her American record and move up to third on the all-time hammer throw rankings.

Berry took second at the 2016 Olympic Trials and won gold at the 2019 Pan American Games with a toss of 244′-9″ (74.62m). At the 2021 USATF Throws Festival in Tuscon, Ariz. on May 22, the Ferguson, Mo. native threw a personal-best 251′-11″ (76.79m) to win the event and qualify for the Olympic Trials.

O’Neal, a three-time All-American, most recently placed 15th in the hammer throw at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships to earn All-America Second Team honors. The Florissant, Mo. native qualified for the trials after she threw 218′-2″ (66.51m) to win her second career MVC title at the 2021 MVC Outdoor Championships.

A five-time MVC Champion and 10-time All-MVC performer in her three seasons as a Saluki, Branch clocked a personal-best 22.74 in the prelims at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships to qualify for the trials. She went on to earn All-America Honorable Mention honors in the event. She will run at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday with the hopes of advancing through to Friday’s semifinal race.

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