U.S. Olympic Trials: (Former Titan/Duck) Cyrus Hostetler makes Team USA, bad knee and all
EUGENE – Christina Scherwin was concerned Monday as she stood in the mixed zone adjacent to Hayward Field, watching Cyrus Hostetler talk to reporters.
Hostetler, the former Oregon javelin thrower who competes for Oregon Track Club/Eugene, had just made the U.S. team despite finishing fifth in the Olympic Trials final on an injured left knee.
Scherwin coaches Hostetler, and she wanted him in treatment.
“I think his knee is OK, because he was able to take his last throw,” Scherwin said. “But he was not having fun out there. I think he was in pain. Oh, my gosh. I told him to not throw. I wanted him to stop. What’s the point of going to London with a torn ACL?”
Injured knee or not, Hostetler will compete in the Olympics because he is one of three U.S. throwers to have met the Olympic “A” standard of 269 feet.
“Not the best way to make the team,” Hostetler said. “I don’t think anybody wants to make a team that way. But I’m definitely looking to prove myself in the international season.”
Texas A&M’s Sam Humphreys won with a throw of 268-7, a personal record. He does not have the Olympic “A” standard and did not make the team.
Sam Crouser, Oregon’s redshirt freshman, busted a 265-1 monster on his final attempt to finish second. He doesn’t have the “A” standard either.
The guys who placed 3-4-5, Craig Kinsley, Sean Furey and Hostetler, have thrown the standard. They will represent Team USA in the London Olympics.
It wasn’t an easy competition for Hostetler to watch, because Humphreys was knocking on the door from his opener, which sailed 264-10. Four of Humphreys’ five legal attempts went 263-11 or further.
Then Hostetler had to watch Crouser’s finale get measured. Had Humphreys or Crouser reached the standard, it would have bumped Hostetler.
“These guys are what, 21 and 20?” Kinsley said. “They were out there throwing bombs.”
And Hostetler was gimpy. His knees have gone under the knife more than Joan Rivers.
His left knee buckled on him Monday on his third attempt. For a right-handed javelin thrower, the left knee is the one that sets – blocks in javelin parlance – for the throw.
“I want to be going straight over that block, and I definitely twisted around it,” Hostetler said. “I didn’t hear anything pop. Nothing crunched, or anything like that. But I was walking over to see Christina on the sidelines and I felt it give out. I could barely walk on it.”
After three throws, four of the 12 finalists were eliminated. The final eight were given three more attempts.
With the knee a real issue, Hostetler passed on his fourth attempt.
“That gave me a little extra time to keep warming it up,” Hostetler said. “Then I started throwing some blocks down right outside the runway. And, it helped. So I was like, you know what? Let’s give it a shot.”
It was Hostetler’s call, over Scherwin’s objections. And, she understood. She threw the javelin for Denmark in the 2004 Olympics.
“You have to fight for this,” she said. “It’s the Olympic Trials. It sucks, because we wanted him to compete today. We were really pumped about how he was going to throw.”
Hostetler fouled on his fifth attempt. But the knee didn’t buckle. He took his final attempt and threw 251-1, and again, the knee held up.
“At the back of the runway, the thing that is running through my head is, ‘This is going to hurt, no matter what,’” Hostetler said. “I just had to do it, with that ‘no fear’ mentality you have to have in the javelin. It’s probably going to hurt, really, really bad. But it’s only for a split moment. You just have to bear through it.
“This is for the Olympic Team. It only comes once every four years.”
Crouser is the national high school record-holder. The prep record of 255-4 had been his PR, until he wound up and let fly Monday with his final attempt. Afterward, he was upbeat.
“I’m really glad I came through on that last throw and I was able to pull second out,” he said.
Crouser struggled early in the competition, even sending one throw out of the sector and perilously near a group of pole vaulters. But he put it together in the end.
“I finally caught one a little bit,” he said.
Sean Keller, who just finished his senior year at Heritage High School in Vancouver, finished eighth overall with a best mark of 246-5.