Ashley Saunders is following in the footsteps of her older sister, Termeka, on the Carver indoor track and field team. The Yellowjackets sophomore decided she also wanted to be a shot putter.
“My sister does the shot put,” Saunders said. “She would tell me about it, so I decided I wanted to do it.”
Termeka, now a senior, provides some spirited competition between the sisters.
“She’ll try to do it better than me and that irritates me,” Ashley Saunders said. “I’ll look at her and smile and start laughing and then she’ll start laughing.”
The younger Saunders said she usually wins the competition.
“I come to practice more than she does,” she said. “I work out a lot more. I always lift weights, and she’s not there all the time.”
She first learned how to throw last year.
“I learned the fundamentals outside on the track,” she said. “Coach (Donald) Carter taught me.”
Carter, who coaches the Carver wrestling team, isn’t available to help during the indoor season, so Saunders depends on Coach Herman Moye.
“I usually do it on my own during indoor,” Saunders said. “Coach Moye helps me some.”
Saunders said she doesn’t follow the typical form used by most who throw the shot.
“I like to be creative and funny,” she said. “I do it different from others. Instead of pivoting I just swing. I don’t go all the way around.
“When I throw it, I have a little smirk. There’s no grunting.”
Throwing the shot indoors provides a psychological advantage for Saunders.
“I feel like I throw it farther than outdoor,” she said.
She said it was easy to learn most of the fundamentals except for pivoting.
“I never did the shot put before and when I tried to pivot, I never got it,” Saunders said.
“The other girls are way bigger and taller than me. I’m 5-2. I think I do pretty good for my height. My longest throw is 26 (feet) this year. I want to reach 30. I think I can if I practice more and try harder.”
Saunders said she gets frustrated when her competitors throw farther.
“When the other girls throw it farther than me, I feel like I did something wrong,” she said. “I will talk to my teammates and breathe in and out.”
Each competitor has three throws during a meet.
“The third one is my best,” Saunders said. “I do it two times and figure out what I need to do to throw farther. I collect all my thoughts and throw it harder.”