Cherokee graduate Jessica Woodard advanced to the shot put final at the World Athletics Championships Friday with a big throw of 62-7 in the qualifying round.
She’s the 13th American woman to reach the shot put final at World Championships, which was first held in 1991.
Woodard surpassed the auto qualifying mark of 61-8 on her final throw of Friday’s qualifying round at Heyward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Only two U.S. women have ever thrown farther at the World Championships.
Jillian Camarena-Williams threw 65-8 and placed 2nd in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. She was later suspended for a positive test for a banned substance, although her performance in 2011 remains on the books. And Michelle Carter threw 65-5 in 2013, 64-10 in 2015 and 62-9 ½ in 2017.
Including results from Group A – who threw after Group B – Woodard was tied for 6th-best throw of the 29 entrants from around the world.
Woodard, competing in her first international championship meet, opened with throws of 58-4 ¾ and 58-2 ¼ and was in jeopardy of missing the finals before popping her 62-7 on her final attempt.
That’s her 2nd-best throw ever.
Woodard was competing in Group B, and she had the 5th-best throw overall. Group A is throwing later Friday evening.
All throwers who hit 61-8 Friday – or the 12-best throwers overall – advance to Saturday’s final. Ten women hit 61-8 and two others were added to fill out the field.
The former Oklahoma All-America qualified for Worlds with a personal-best 63-7 ¾ throw to take 3rd at the USATF Championships at the same facility last month. That made her the No. 9 seed at Worlds and No. 14 in U.S. history.
Woodard will compete in the final at 9:25 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Only eight U.S. women have ever placed in the top-10 at the World Athletics Championships, including Carter five times.