Decades ago, golfing legend Bobby Jones said of future great Jack Nicklaus, "He plays a game with which I am not familiar."
On Thursday, Jordan Geist unleashed a display of shot putting excellence that no other high school thrower can possibly comprehend. In his first full competition with the 16-pound international shot, the Knoch senior obliterated the national prep record set five years ago by the reigning Olympic champion, Ryan Crouser.
The 18-year- old amazed all in attendance at Hempfield Area, moving into the No. 2 spot on the all-time list with his opener before breaking Crouser's record and then resetting his own mark twice more. With spectators following his lead with some rhythmic clapping, Geist produced a tape-measure put of 68 feet, 4 inches on his final attempt of the night.
"It started to feel better than it did in warm-ups because I started getting after it a little bit more," Geist said of his continued improvement during the six rounds. "It was just little things technically that added up to that big (throw).
"Once I started getting more adrenaline in me, it started going farther. And then the last throw had a ton of adrenaline, I hit really good positions, great push on the ball and just hit a bomb."
The aforementioned bomb by Geist cruised past Crouser's 63-11 indoor best and also surpassed a bevy of outdoor throws from 1979 by legendary record holder Michael Carter. The silver medalist in the shot from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and an All-Pro defensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers, Carter holds the outdoor record with the 16 at 67-9 and had three other throws over 66 that year.
Although the rest of Thursday's field was throwing 12-pounders, Geist was never at a competitive disadvantage using the Olympic-sized shot. The University of Arizona signee almost effortlessly reached at least 55 feet on his opening warm-up before adding in his rotational technique and dialing up the intensity.
"After last (Saturday) it was pretty much a reality check whenever I threw farther in warm-ups," Geist said of a warm-up toss at Dickinson College that easily outdistanced his winning 71-4. "I was like, 'OK, I need to take it back a little bit in warm-ups.' I do, so I may have thrown 60 feet in warm-ups and then I open with the (62) and I started building from there."
Entering the competition, Geist was primed to join the trio of high schoolers who had cleared at least 60 feet indoors with the 16-pounder. His opening throw of 62-3 lifted him past Louisiana's Arnold Campbell (60-7.5 in 1984) and Georgia's Ben Blauser (60-1.25 in 2011) and placed him less than 2 feet behind Crouser, who won gold in Rio in August at 73-10.5.
Geist's second-rounder of 63-10.5 took care of all but a half-inch of that remaining distance to the former Texas Longhorn. Another throw and another improvement for the Knoch standout as his 64-5.5 put his name in the record books. However, it would prove to be short-lived as he opened the finals with a 64-6 heave.
An intentional foul was the only flaw in a remarkable series as the senior pumped up the crowd and himself for a final round masterpiece and another record.
"That is the ideal series for a thrower," said Geist, who averaged slightly more than 64-8 on his five legal throws. "Just keep on improving. Not supposed to improve 4 feet on your last throw, but I'm not complaining at all."
Geist will be back at practice this week and next before returning to Hempfield for another go with the 16-pounder in the new year.
"It's a huge confidence booster, but I also need to stay humble about it and just keep on working at it," Geist said of his record. "That wasn't the perfect throw, but it's really close to it. Just until the new year, we just have to put the nose to the grindstone and keep working hard."