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Ryan Crouser ready for shot at Rio Olympics

COURTESY: UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS - CROUSERThere’s no better indication of Ryan Crouser’s readiness for the U.S. Olympic trials than his performance Sunday during a qualifying meet at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

The former Barlow High standout threw the shot a personal-record 71 feet, 8 1/4 inches, bettering his previous PRs both indoors (71-3 1/2) and outdoors (70-2 1/4).

“I feel really good about it,” says Crouser, 23, who won four NCAA titles (two outdoor, two indoor) during his time at Texas. “The thing I was most happy about was the series. I’ve been working on making my first throw a good one, and I opened with a PR (71-4 3/4). I had four throws over 70 feet, so that was good.”

The shot put will be staged on July 1, the first day of the trials at Eugene’s Hayward Field. The 6-7, 290-pound Crouser enters the competition ranked second behind Joe Kovacs (72-7 1/4) this year. But three other performers (Ryan Whiting, Christian Cantwell and Jordan Clarke) have surpassed 70 feet, and 38-year-old veteran Reese Hoffa, who won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, is always a threat.

“The U.S. is so competitive internationally in the shot,” Crouser says. “If you can make the team, that’s as challenging as making the podium at the Olympics. ...

Look for the full story in our Friday, July 1, print edition.