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Ryan Crouser, Galen Rupp share center stage

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR - Ryan Crouser celebrates his triumph in the shot put and Olympic team berth.EUGENE — The Mt. Hood Conference couldn’t have been better-represented during Friday’s opening day of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials before a sun-splashed Hayward Field throng of 20,897.

Two champions were crowned, and both were Portlanders — Barlow High grad Ryan Crouser in the shot put and former Central Catholic great Galen Rupp in the 10,000 meters.

Crouser and Rupp — who exchanged a handshake and congratulations as Crouser left the media tent and Rupp entered Friday night — are at opposite stages of their careers.

Crouser, 23, emerged on the national scene for the first time, joining reigning world champion Joe Kovacs and Derrell Hill as first-time Olympians in the shot put.

“Pretty unbelievable,” said Crouser, who won with a personal-record throw of 72 feet, 6 1/2 inches. “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. This was my first really big shot competition. It was the biggest competition of my life. I’m just happy to make the team and happy I walked out on top.”

Look for expanded coverage in our Friday, July 8, print edition.