Ex-Burke star Saunders climbs to No. 1 in NCAA shot put

Former Burke High School star Raven Saunders ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in women’s shot put. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)

Former Burke High School track and field star Raven Saunders is off to a fast start in her college career at Southern Illinois.

Saunders, a freshman for the Salukis, set the indoor American junior record in the shot put at the SIU Invitational over the weekend, with a throw of 57 feet, 10.5 inches on Saturday. It was a personal best for Saunders, whose previous best was the national high school girls record of 56-8.25.

Saunders now ranks No. 1 in the women’s shot put in the NCAA, passing LSU’s Tori Bliss for the top spot in the rankings. Three-time NCAA champion Jeneva McCall holds the SIU record in the shot put at 58-11.5.