Crouser clinches spot on Team USA, Richards-Ross ends career

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On the first day of the Track and Field Olympic trials junior Ryan Crouser qualified for Team USA. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Texas Sports

Longhorn Ryan Crouser qualified for Team USA on day one of the Track and Field Olympic trials.

“It was the biggest competition of my life,” Crouser said. “I’m just happy to make the team and even happier to walk out of here on top.”

In his second throw of the day, Crouser’s mark of 20.97 meters qualified him for finals. That evening, Crouser improved his mark by throwing 22.11 meters to clinch the top spot on the Olympic team. He joins men’s shot put world champion Joseph Kovacs and Penn State alumnus Darrell Hill on Team USA.

“I’m just elated and so happy for his family,” head coach Mario Sategna said. “They have deep ties here in the state of Oregon. He’s had uncles on the Olympic team and his dad was fourth at the Olympic trials as well. I just couldn’t be happier for him.”

Taking the track first was former Longhorn Kendra Chambers in the 800 meters. After finishing third in her heat with a time of 2:01.07, she waited four heats until she saw her name on the semifinals list. She will advance to the semifinals with the No. 4 overall time.

Kicking off the 400 meters was Courtney Okolo and former Longhorn Sanya Richards-Ross. Okolo lined up in lane seven with Richards-Ross staggered in her rear view in lane two. Within the first 150 meters of the race, Richards-Ross was already noticeably behind. Her stride limped with injury until she finally came to a walk, pulling herself out of the race.

“I’m so grateful that I can’t even complain about my career,” Richards-Ross said.

Okolo continued the Longhorn legacy in Richards-Ross’s footsteps, taking first in the heat to qualify for the semifinals. Joining Okolo in the semifinals is former Longhorn Ashley Spencer, who finished third in her heat with a time of 51.28 seconds. On the men’s side, rising senior Aldrich Bailey qualified for semifinals in the 400 meters, taking second in his heat with a time of 45.73.

In Kingston, Jamaica, juniors Chrisann Gordon and Senoj-Jay Givans continued with day two of the Jamaican Olympic trials. Gordon clinched a spot in the 400-meter semifinals with a time of 51.65, while Givans finished sixth overall in the 100-meter with a time of 10.06 seconds. Givans is still eligible to be selected in the 4x100 meter relay pool, where Jamaica will select six competitors for their team.