The second day of the United States Olympic track and field trials saw Galen Rupp, Shadrack Kipchirchir and Leonard Korir qualify for the men's 10,000-meter race and Ryan Crouser, Darrell Hill and Joe Kovacs qualify for the men's shot-put event in Rio de Janeiro.
Those were the only two finals that took place Friday in Eugene, Oregon, but the stage was also set for a high-intensity weekend as all of the great male and female athletes in various disciplines look to make their Olympic dreams come true.
Here are the results from Friday's two key events:
|2016 US Olympic Track and Field Results: July 1|
|Men's Shot Put||Ryan Crouser (22.11 meters)||Joe Kovacs (21.95 meters)||Darrell Hill (21.63 meters)|
|Men's 10,000 Meters||Galen Rupp (27:55.04)||Shadrack Kipchirchir (28:01.52)||Leonard Korir (28:16.97)|
Crouser was the star of the men's shot put, with Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune providing the statistical evidence:
His longest throw guaranteed him a spot on the Olympic team, though the other athletes had work to do to fill out the rest of the squad. Hill and Kovacs stepped up in a big way, with Kovacs saving his best throw for last on a distance of just over 21.95 meters.
Reese Hoffa missed out on an opportunity to defend his bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics with a foul on his final throw. His best throw (20.61 meters) was more than one full meter behind Hill's best throw.
Per USA Track and Field, Hoffa's career will come to an end after he missed the cut for the Olympics.
Hoffa had previously told Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle his plans for the future: “If I make the team, I’ll continue to throw. If I do not make the team, I will pretty much retire immediately after the trials.”
This was not the ending that Hoffa was looking for, but the 38-year-old does have an Olympic medal and gold medals from the 2007 World Championships and 2006 World Indoor Championships.
Crouser's brilliant performance in qualifying will be certain to open some eyes heading into Rio. The winning distance four years ago in London was 21.89 meters from Poland's Tomasz Majewski. Crouser bested that mark Friday, so the stage is set for the young man to be the first American gold medalist in shot put since Adam Nelson in 2004.
The men's 10,000-meter race was a predictable affair, with Rupp coming out on top and earning congratulations from his alma mater on Twitter:
Rupp has been nearly unstoppable in this race, though Olympic gold has eluded him to this point. The 30-year-old does have a silver medal from the 2012 Olympics, when he lost by less than a half-second to Mo Farah.
Maggie Hendricks of USA Today noted the ease with which Rupp crossed the finish line Friday:
Behind Rupp were Kipchirchir and Korir, who will be making their Olympic debuts after finishing second and third, respectively. Kipchirchir gave Rupp a run for his money, holding a slight lead after 9,600 meters, but was unable to keep up the pace the former Oregon star set.
Korir was content to sit back in third place for the final 2,000 meters to punch his ticket to Rio.
Kipchirchir and Korir have a chance to play spoiler on the biggest stage the world has to offer. Rupp will be seeking to finish the job after coming up just short four years ago.
Nothing is a given in sports, so all three long-distance runners know that the next five weeks of preparation will be the most important ones of their professional lives.