CARBONDALE — SIU's Ricky Hurley extended his Missouri Valley Conference record in the men's hammer throw Wednesday, but finished 17th at the NCAA outdoor track and field championship.
Hurley threw the hammer a personal-best distance of 68.82 meters on his first attempt at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. He was fifth after the first rotation but fell to seventh after the first flight. Hurley lost his balance on his second attempt and fouled. His third attempt went 66.62 meters. Florida's Thomas Mardal won the national championship with a personal-best toss of 76.74 meters on his second attempt. It was the sixth-best performance in NCAA outdoor championship history.
Hurley's performance, which earned him honorable mention All-American status, capped an outdoor season that saw the senior win his third straight hammer throw title and break SIU's school record. Hurley and SIU throws coach J.C. Lambert, a former Saluki, are the only athletes in school history to win three straight hammer throw titles. Hurley also won the MVC hammer throw title in 2018 and the league discus championship. He was an honorable mention All-American in his only other appearance at the outdoor national championship after finishing 20th in the hammer.
Two other Salukis are scheduled to compete at the NCAA championship Thursday. Senior Shauniece O'Neal is seeded 12th in the women's hammer throw, and Mount Vernon native A'Veun Moore-Jones has the 21st seed in the women's shot put. SIU hasn't had an outdoor national champion since Olympian Deanna Price won the women's hammer in 2016.
O'Neal reached the national meet for the third time in her career after taking fifth at the West Preliminary in College Station, Texas, with a throw of 213 feet, 5 inches (65.04 meters). The Florissant, Missouri native hasn't finished worse than fifth in the seven meets she's competed in this year. She became the first Saluki since 2017 to earn first team All-American honors after placing seventh in the weight throw at the NCAA indoor national championship.
Moore-Jones qualified for the national meet for the second time in her career after she placed 10th in the shot put at the West Prelims. The Mount Vernon native threw a personal-best 55-1.50 (16.80m), which is tied for the fifth-best outdoor mark in program history. She becomes the first female Saluki since Raven Saunders in 2015 to qualify for both the indoor and outdoor national meets in the shot put in the same season.
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