by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ROBERT ROSENBERG  - Gresham High graduate Sam Crouser lets loose with a throw during Saturdays javelin prelims. EUGENE - Sam Crouser advanced to the javelin finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials Saturday at Hayward Field. The Gresham High alum and current Oregon Duck improved on each of his three allotted attempts, reaching 248-00 for seventh place in the preliminary round.

"I just kept on improving and got to the finals," Crouser said.

The finals were held 6 p.m. Monday after The Outlook press time. Look for final results in Friday's edition.

Crouser expected to improve on his qualifying mark when a trip to London is on the line. He merely tried to escape the preliminary round on Saturday by taking a shortened, conservative approach on the runway.

"I just wanted to get three good throws in, not take the full approach, not take too much out of you until Monday," Crouser said. "And then on Monday just go for broke and whatever happens, happens."

He added that he wanted to take the variables out of his delivery.

The 20 year olds opening attempt reached 244-09, and he raised that mark to 247.54 on his second throw.

"I was thinking, that's not that far," Crouser said. "But I was just going off the shorter approach. Basically I just did what I had to do. I got to the finals, and now I can go back to a father approach and hopefully do well on Monday."

This was Crouser's first major event since his disastrous appearance in the NCAA Track & Field Championships when his best throw of 229-11 failed to qualify for one of the nine spots in the finals earlier this month.

Throwing with Crouser in the first flight was Sean Keller, a senior from Heritage High School in Vancouver, whose distance of 253-00 nearly surpassed Crouser's national high school record mark of 255-4.

"I didn't talk to him too much, but that was an awesome throw for him," Crouser said. "I wasn't thinking about it too much - the record. I was just out there throwing. But it was a great throw by him though."

Keller placed sixth, one spot ahead of Crouser.

Three Portland-area natives reached the finals on Saturday. Joining Crouser and Keller was Cyrus Hostetler, who threw at Newberg High School and attended Oregon. He qualified for the eighth spot, reaching 245-2.

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