As the javelin flew, Sean Keller’s mind raced.
The Heritage senior thought about how he had likely just broken his own state record and perhaps set the national mark as well.
He thought about how he may have just qualified for the Olympic Trials and would get to compete on the biggest stage of his life.
And he thought about how he had just squashed any self-doubt that had been lingering as a result of underachieving throws in previous meets.
Right now, you’re probably saying “that’s quite a lot of thoughts to rifle in the middle of a single throw.”
Yeah, but you don’t realize how long that thing was in the air.
Keller won the Centennial Invitational in Gresham, Ore. on Saturday when his javelin sailed 244 feet and 1 inch. He broke his Washington high school record by an even 12 feet, and fell of an inch short of Sam Crowser’s in-season national high school record.
The throw qualified him for the Olympic Trials, which take place in June in Eugene, and gave his sagging confidence a shot of Red Bull.
Is one of your goals to make the Olympics? Keller was asked Monday.
“It is now,” the 18-year-old replied.
That aspiration may have seemed farfetched just a week earlier when Keller threw 213 feet at the Oregon Relays — still good enough to win, but well south of his standards.
He thought his form had betrayed him, that his arm was flaming out. As Heritage track coach Russ Weaver said: “There was a little bit of concern. There was a little bit of self-doubt in him.”
Keller’s throw was almost 40 feet better than Newberg’s Cody Danielson. Keller said that “Oh my God!” left the mouths of several onlookers when the javelin landed.
The throw also earned Keller an invitation to the Southwest Track and Field Classic in New Mexico.
Even so, his goals have not changed dramatically.
“I just want to get better — to be better than I was before,” Keller said. “I just want to keep improving.”