Photo by Phil Grove
One meet does not a season make, especially if you are Jordan Geist.
However, the Knoch senior, who always says his only goal is to improve each time he enters the circle, set the bar very high for the coming year with a memorable indoor debut Saturday at the Dickinson College Invitational. With event officials scrambling to adjust the safe zone surrounding the sector because of his record-breaking length, Geist opened and closed the day at over 71 feet, with a US#1 toss of 71 feet, 4 inches his best.
"I wasn't expecting much more before we got here today," Geist said of his throws, all of which obliterated the meet record of 66-3.5 by Ryan Whiting on December 18, 2004. "It's the first meet of the year, I haven't thrown for about five or sixth months competitively.
"Once I started warming up though, I started expecting a little bit more with some far warmups. I think one was 73-feet something. Once I got into the meet, I started getting a little too anxious, had a bunch at 70-71. I'm happy with how today ended up."
With all five of his measured throws covering at least 70 feet, Geist had more than one-third of the total 70-footers (14) from his entire 2016 indoor season in one afternoon. Geist's winning throw in the sixth and final round was bettered only 3 times indoors last year by Pennsylvania's shot record man indoors and out.
"Improvement, that's the biggest thing," said Geist, who was the only thrower in the country to hit 70 indoors last season. "Just keep improving this whole year hopefully. Don't want to take any steps backward, just keep moving forward."
Geist, shown above at Hempfield last winter, will contest the weight throw tonight (Photo by Phil Grove)
Geist's final meet of 2016 will be tonight at Hempfield Area High School in a field events-only competition. A year ago, the then junior stretched the limits of the Spartans' gymnasium with a season debut that set the stage for state and national class records in 2016.
With his throws nearly bouncing off gym walls last year at Hempfield, the senior is scheduled to move up in weight and throw the 16-pound shot that he will use on a full-time basis next year at the University of Arizona. The Knoch standout practices extensively with heavier shots and should have a very good chance of grabbing a spot on the all-time prep list with the 16-pounder.
Ryan Crouser, who won Olympic gold in Rio last summer in the shot put, went 63-11 with the 16 as a high school senior in 2011. The former Texas Longhorn also is the indoor record holder with the 12-pounder, throwing 77-2.75 in 2011 with Geist's 2016 indoor best of 72-9.5 at No. 3 all-time.
Although most high schoolers do not use the 16-pounder in competition indoors or out, many near the top of the all-time list with the 12-pound ball also have gone long with the international implement. In addition to Crouser, Louisiana's Arnold Campbell (60-7.5 in 1984) and Georgia's Ben Blauser (60-1.25 in 2011) are the other preps over 60 indoors. All three also have cracked 70 with the 12-pounder outdoors.
Outdoors, seven throwers have surpassed 60 feet with the 16, with Campbell No. 2 at 63-8. Former state record holder Ron Semkiw went 59-6.5 in 1972 outdoors.
Watch an interview with Geist after his season-opening throw at Dickinson: