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One to watch: DeAnna Price

Southern Illinois thrower wants to set a powerful image

DeAnna Price
School: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Sport: Women’s hammer throw

So far, 2016 has turned out to be a great year for Southern Illinois thrower DeAnna Price. She won the NCAA women’s hammer throw championship for the second consecutive year — only the fifth woman in NCAA hammer throw history to do so and the first since 2007 — placed third in the hammer throw at an the U.S. Olympic trials and today will compete for the United States in Rio. Price set an NCAA championship record in winning her latest title with a throw of 234 feet, 8 inches, breaking her own record set a year earlier. Additionally, she set an NCAA single-season record this year for recording 19 throws in competition of 230 or more feet. While Price is best known for the hammer throw, she is also an accomplished weight throw, shot put and discus thrower. She won the Missouri Valley Conference shot put and hammer throw championships this spring, and in 2015 she claimed the MVC titles in the weight and hammer throws. Besides her athletics success, the Moscow Mills, Missouri, native was named to the MVC academic honor roll in 2014 and 2015 for her outstanding academic performances. To punctuate her outstanding year, Price was a Bowerman Award semifinalist, an award presented annually to the best collegiate athlete in NCAA track and field.

When to watch: The women’s hammer throw final will take place on Monday at 9:40 a.m. Eastern time.

Why we’re cheering: While Price boasts an impressive collegiate resume, she also hopes to be an inspiration beyond athletics. Price utilizes her athletics platform to spread her story and message about body image, self-acceptance and mental fortitude. As a woman who struggled with her own body image well into college, Price speaks often about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself for who you are. “I’m really just hoping to inspire younger generations to let them know it’s OK to be strong, it’s OK to be bigger,” Price said to ESPNW. “A lot of people just don’t expect women to shine or be bold. I want them to know that it’s OK to be strong.” Price has started speaking with student groups and hopes her own story will encourage others to start on their personal journeys of self-discovery and acceptance.