TRACK AND FIELD - The Gresham standout breaks the 50-meter mark three times during the week
by: file photo Crouser had the day’s top qualifying mark Wednesday before finishing fourth out of 12 throwers during Thursday’s javelin finals.

Gresham sophomore Haley Crouser pulled on her Team USA jersey for the first time and immediately felt the transformation that comes with representing your country.

'Our coaches told us that when you put the uniform on, the 'S' in the USA turns you into a superman or a superwoman,' she said. 'And that's a perfect description of what it felt like.'

Crouser earned a spot on the team for last week's World Youth Championships in Lille, France. She quickly gained a spot in the javelin finals by hitting the 50-meter qualifying line on her first attempt in Wednesday's prelims.

'My goal was to make it to finals on the first throw, so I wouldn't have to take so many throws the day before the competition, but I was still really relieved when I heard it was over the qualifying mark,' Crouser said.

With world medals on the line, Thursday's competition ramped up to a whole new level, and Crouser found herself right in the middle of the mix. Her second throw of 51.99 meters proved to be her best of the day, coming up just a few feet short of her personal best in the event. That mark was good for fourth place out of the 12 finalists.

Crouser broke the 50-meter barrier once more on her final throw of the day.

'The competition here was so much greater than anything I have ever competed at,' Crouser said. 'Everyone on the field has thrown just as far or farther and they are all great competitors. You have to try your best and stay on top of your game.'

Christine Hussong of Germany won the event with a heave of 59.74 meters.

A recap of local placers at the Junior Olympic Regional meet in Spokane appears in the July 13, edition of The Outlook.

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