EUGENE, Ore. -- Sean Keller took the first throw of the competition in the men's javelin finals Monday at Hayward Field in Eugene, showed no sign of nerves of intimidation and cranked out a throw of 246 feet, 5 inches.
The recent grad of Heritage (Vancouver, Wash.) finished eighth at the Olympic trials and was thrilled to make the cut when the 12 finalists were whittled down to eight for the final three throws.
"I still can't believe it -- eighth place," said Keller. That first throw was the second-best of his career and trailed only the 253-foot howitzer he launched in the qualifying round. "Pretty amazing."
Keller leaves the Olympic trials feeling jacked about his experience throwing in front of 21,626 people and how well he threw. He will travel to Spain to compete in the World Junior Championships and also has a trip to Finland planned with the NSSF's Kultan Keihas Project and that cultural exchange visit also includes a competition.
Two more chances to break Sam Crouser's natoinal record of 255-4. (Incidentally, Crouser was in Monday's competition and PR'd by 10 feet to finish with silver medal with 265-1).
"I know I can get it," Keller said of the record. "I'm gunning for it."
Nobody in the competition achieved the Olympic A standard, although Texas A&M's Sam Humphrey's missed it by just five inches. Three other throwers -- Craig Kinsley, Sean Furey and Cyrus Hostetler -- had already achieved the A and will represent the country in London.
Keller said he had a great time competing along side the best throwers in the U.S.
"It was pretty cool," he said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance that you can do, and I'm doing it."
The A standard distance, 269 feet, may be beyond Keller at this point. But the number was in his head Monday, as it was with Humphreys, Crouser and all of the other throwers. If Keller could have pumped one out that far, it would have earned him a trip to the Olympic Games.
Conditions were not great. The air was heavy with moisture, there was some rain, and the runway was wet. On a warmer, clearer day, who knows?
"Some people say I can do it. It all depends on me," he said of the Olympic A standard. "It was not impossible."