Photo by Phil Grove
The latest chapter in Pennsylvania shot put history almost didn't happen Saturday in the TSTCA Championships at Edinboro University.
Minutes after an awkward and scary-looking end to the prelims and a slip-created walkout foul to open the finals, Jordan Geist's coaches were about ready to call it a day for the shot put standout. Victory and a new PR already were assured, and the risk of injury appeared ready to surpass the reward of a really huge finale.
The senior's third 70-foot-plus throw of the day calmed the fears and opened the door for another memorable moment for Geist. With a quick boost of adrenaline from spectators, the Arizona recruit moved himself ever so close to Ryan Crouser's national indoor record, blasting his final round attempt 76 feet, 10.5 inches.
"It just felt a little dry, just needed some more energetic atmosphere," Geist said of initiating a little rhythmic clapping before his US#2 AT indoor throw. "So after I got a little bit of adrenaline in me, I hit a pretty good throw, really good finish, good push. (It went) really far."
By improving his 6-day-old indoor PR by more than 3 feet, Geist continued his climb into the highest level of the all-time shot put lists. Combining history's best throws with the 12-pounder indoors and out, the 18-year-old's new lifetime best trails only Michael Carter's legendary 81-3.5 from the 1979 Golden West Invitational, Crouser's indoor record 77-2.75 from 2011 and Carter's 77-0 also from 1979.
"I just had an indoor PR by 3 feet so it's tough to say I'm disappointed, but it's sort of a bummer really," Geist said of narrowing missing the high school best by the reigning Olympic champion. "I'm still very happy with what I did today, but there's more in the tank. Just hopefully hit it at states maybe."
After unloading several practice throws out near 73 feet, Geist opened the competition at 70-7. His second trip to the circle resulted in the first appearance of the day of a steel tape, which confirmed that the senior had set another state record and PR at 75-3.5 to move to US#2 AT with a share of the No. 3 throw ever indoors with Crouser.
"The first throw is always just a tempo throw just to get a mark," Geist said. "It going 70 feet was a big sign for today."
(Watch Geist's foul in the prelims below)
However, as quickly as everything was at an all-time high for the senior, he literally came crashing down at the end of his third throw. A flaw in his footwork caused the Knight to end up on all fours in the circle after his left ankle twisted violently after he stepped on the toeboard.
"Coming out of the back off of my left foot, I pushed a little too hard and the right foot landed about a foot forward of where it should have which made the left foot land on top of there," Geist explained. "Luckily that's not the first time it's ever happened. It's happened in practice before. I know how to come back from it.
"It shook me a little bit. But after a couple of warmup throws (before the finals), I started getting back into a groove."
Although a slippery circle stopped Geist from completely righting the ship and started his coaches talking about an early end to his day, the senior showed why he is among the best prep throwers ever by punching the ball out to 73-7 in round 5.
"This shows how much he has matured as a thrower," said Geist's dad, Jim, himself a four-time All-American in the javelin at Slippery Rock. "For most kids his age, the natural reaction would be to be more conservative and hesitant so it wouldn't happen again. For Jordan to come back and throw 73-7 and then 76-10 shows how he mentally blocked it out and prepared to go at it even harder in the finals."
From its launch, Geist's final throw was on a completely different plane from the rest of his efforts. When it landed, the future Wildcat had his second consecutive meet with four throws over 70 feet.
"It was higher than his usual throw, but his linear speed was incredible," club coach Mike Hambrick said of Geist's new PR.
Averaging 74-1 on the day, Geist now owns six of the top 15 indoor throws in history, sharing that honor with Crouser, with Brent Noon having the other three.