DeAnna Price Scares American Hammer Record

Price was twice an NCAA champion for Southern Illinois but now wants her first USATF title. (MIKE SCOTT)

DeAnna Price’s plan for the hammer throw coming into the ’18 season was simple in theory, if difficult in execution.

To throw big, to turn in a mark like, say, the world-leading 250-2 (76.27) she put up at the Kingston IWC meet that ranks as the second-best mark ever by an American—and took the yearly world lead—she needed to get smaller.

To become the season’s biggest women’s name in American throws, she had to trim down with all the improvements in agility that implies, while keeping all her strength and power.

Price put up a terrific series in Jamaica, scoring up the 3 longest throws of her career despite a format that only allowed for 4 attempts. She opened at 241-3 (73.54), tied her PR at 249-2 (75.96), PRed with the 250-2 and closed with a 249-7 (76.08).

That night speaks to a goal met, and the 24-year-old Price thinks there’s a lot more to come.

“Last year I came to the realization, I weighed 265lb [c120kg), I was too big,” she says. "Maggie [Ewen] was at 195 [c[c89]Gwen [B[Berry]as at 180 [c[c82]nd they were throwing far. I looked at myself and wondered, ‘If I got down, what could I do?’ I started college at 175lb [c[c80]In ’14 I got up to 250 [c[c114]nd I got stronger, then I got up to 265. I threw 74.91 [2[245-9]but I didn’t feel good.

“It was hard to lose that weight. I increased my water intake, balanced what I was eating, more cardio. It was completely different, there were such big changes and this is the hardest I’ve ever trained. It’s all finally showing, and there’s still a lot of room to improve.”

To put numbers on that, she went from 265 down to almost 220 before settling at the 226–228lb (c103) that she and coach/fiancé J.C. Lambert feel is right for her. The size-22 wedding dress she’s going to wear in October has to be altered to size-18 in the shoulders and 16 in the waist.

The transformation in the ring has been just as complete. That started becoming obvious when she tuned up for Jamaica with a 249-2 (75.96) in Indiana.

“J.C. and I worked hard on being smoother, more connected,” Price continues. “I’m way faster than I was last year; there is a huge difference there because of the lost weight. I’m pushing the ball better. I have more confidence I can keep moving forward.

“My last throw [i[in Jamaica]as 76.08 and I completely missed the throw. All the factors have to come together, but it’s getting there.”

As is her health, though that may just be a growing ability to deal with it. She had a wrist injury earlier this year, she had cysts in ’16 and before that injuries to her knee, abdomen and arm—pretty much an injury a year, going back to her frosh year at Southern Illinois in ’12.

Price is healthy now and feels she is living in a golden age for American women’s hammer throwers. Charismatic and outgoing—she won over the sprint-mad crowd in Jamaica—she can be a prime piece to that puzzle.

“Keep going hard, keep improving every day,” she says. “It’s amazing what all the girls are doing right now, Maggie, Gwen, Brooke [A[Andersen]I couldn’t be happier with where USA throwing is right now, I couldn’t be prouder of all of them. We’re doing things and the world is definitely noticing. We’re all pushing each other.”

A 2-time NCAA champ for Southern Illinois who made the Olympic and WC finals in ’16 & ’17, her big aim this year is to win her first USATF title, but “my true goal is to be consistent in my throwing and to inspire throwing for others,” she says. “To make women realize they can be beautiful and strong. You can be a good thrower and have a good heart; just love what you do.” □

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