Sean Keller, a recent graduate of Heritage (Vancouver, Wash.)
, threw the javelin a personal- and 2012 national-best 253 feet today, the fifth-best mark of the day at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.
He is one of 12 who advanced to Monday's 6 p.m. (PDT) final. Two other prep performers who participated today - 400-meter runner Aldrich Bailey
and 800 runner Ajee Wilson
- did not advance.
"It feels amazing," Keller told MaxPreps. "I just wanted to PR."
Keller led the nation earlier in the spring with a toss of 244-1, but on the day he won the state title at 227 feet, Billy Stanley surpassed him when he won the Pennsylvania title with a toss of 246-9. His elation turned to gloom when he heard what Stanley had done.
"That got Sean a little bit," Heritage coach Russ Weaver said. "He got fired up after that. He said, 'I guess I've got some work to do' and he's been working his tail off."
Keller wasn't going to play second fiddle for long. The big one came on his third and final throw after tosses of 228-0 and 211-0. The last qualifying mark into finals was 235-2.
"I knew it was going to happen," he said confidently. "I just couldn't wait until it did, because I knew I had a bigger throw in me."
Keller knows he needs to unleash another PR to make the Olympic team.
"I'd have to throw around 270," he said. "I know I'm not going to make it. I'm just trying to do something for myself, just have a good experience and have fun."
Crazier and funnier things have happened.
Bailey, who just graduated from Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas)
placed seventh in his 400 heat and crossed in 45.82, which was 14th out
of 15 competitors. Bailey's season best of 45.19 would have seeded him
fifth heading into the finals. Bailey will run at Texas A&M next fall.
Wilson, a graduate of Neptune (N.J.)
finished eighth and last in her 800 heat in 2:04.96 and she placed 14th
out 16 semifinalists.
Bailey and Wilson will represent the USA in the Junior World games next month in Barcelona, Spain.