Missouri junior shot-putter Kearsten Peoples competed in her first Olympic Trials on Thursday in Eugene, Ore. — her first time competing against professionals.
It was quite a change from when she first tried the sport in seventh grade when her middle school coach Joe Tokarz talked her into giving it a try.
"I almost quit a week or so in because I thought it wasn't for me," Peoples said. "… Tokarz told me that I should stay, and if I didn't like it, I could quit."
Thursday's events are proof of her coach's wisdom.
"Well, it looks like I liked it," Peoples said.
Peoples, an Ottawa, Kan. native, qualified for the trials' shot put event with a mark of 17.74 meters.
Peoples had three throws in Thursday's preliminary round. Her first attempt went 16.30 meters and her second went 16.60 meters. In her third and final throw, she hit 16.97 meters to earn eight place in the preliminaries, enough to qualify for Friday's final round.
"If I made it onto the Olympic team I would be extremely happy and probably be in shock," Peoples said in an email interview. "It would be the most amazing feeling.
"It is everyone's dream of course to make it on the Olympic team, but if it does not happen this year I am still young and should have many more to come."
Peoples said her goal was to set a new personal record at the trials. Her current best is 17.65 meters, which she set at this year's Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship in May.
"I have been training very hard working to earn my spot at the Olympic Trials," she said "There has been blood, sweat and tears. And, now that I have made it here, it's all worth it."