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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

Gwen Berry, who came to SIU as a triple jumper, will be inducted into the athletics' hall of fame Friday night along with five others. 

An All-American thrower in three different events at SIU, the indoor weight throw, outdoor hammer and shot put, she will be the first of a parade of Hall of Fame throwers in the next few years. Berry is a three-time national champion in the indoor weight throw at the U.S. championships and qualified for the Olympics last summer in the hammer.

Next year, Jeneva (McCall) Stevens could be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Athletes must be out at least five years from their final year of eligibility, and the 2012 grad has multiple access points to the Hall.

She won three NCAA championships, which would probably get her in single-handedly. Now consider she got them in three different events, the weight throw in 2012, the outdoor hammer in 2012, and the discus in 2010.

Stevens was a 15-time All-American at SIU and is currently second all-time at the school in the indoor shot put and indoor weight throw. Brittany Riley, who went into the SIU Hall of Fame in 2014, has the all-time toss in the weight throw.

Stevens also became the first American woman to ever medal in international competition when she won the outdoor hammer gold at the 2013 World University Games in Russia.

Fans will have to wait a little longer for Olympian DeAnna Price, her coach, J.C. Lambert, and all-time shot putter Josh Freeman. Price and Freeman just exhausted their eligibility last year, and will be potential first-ballot entrees.

Price, obviously, was the face of the university for a few weeks when she led the U.S. Olympic Trials in the hammer before finishing third to qualify for the Rio Games. She finished eighth and is a two-time NCAA champion in the event.

Freeman, who holds SIU's records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, became the school's first male All-American in the event since 1966. He also won the gold medal at the 2013 Pan Am junior championship.

Lambert, a 2013 grad who now coaches SIU's throwers, was a five-time All-American, tied for the most of any Saluki male. He won seven Missouri Valley Conference titles and set the school record in the indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer.

Lambert finished second in the weight throw at the NCAA championships in 2011-12.

In a few years, SIU's Hall of Fame committee may look at another big-time thrower who was an even better coach: John Smith. Smith helped tutor all four of those future Hall of Famers, and is currently Berry's coach at the University of Mississippi. 


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