Whether he was the overwhelming favorite or the untested rookie, it didn't seem to matter to Jordan Geist.
Pennsylvania's shot put king regained the US#1 ranking at long last in his specialty and remarkably dominated an experienced hammer field in moving into that event's top spot for 2017 and onto the all-time list as well Saturday at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor.
Geist's winning throws of 76 feet and 238-9 both came on the final throws of the competitions at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. The winning put was an outdoor PR for the future Arizona Wildcat and worth US#3 AT outdoors to move behind Michael Carter and Brent Noon, while his incredible debut effort in the hammer is T-US#12 AT.
Geist was the top returnee in the shot put based on his runner-up finish in an epic battle of 70-foot putters in 2016 and his 2017 US#2 toss of 74-10.25. However, the two-time NB Indoor champ started slowly, leading by less than 5 feet with his 71-2.5 from round 2.
Everything changed in the finals as Geist uncorked a toss of 73-1.75 to move just inches shy of the meet record. After a foul in the fifth, the Knoch High graduate flipped the 12-pound ball toward the back end of the pit to guarantee his third national shot title.
"It was a great feeling because I was struggling until that point," Geist of his round 4 effort, "but I finally started clicking in that round and the next so I knew I had a big one. Luckily on the last one enough things clicked to put together a nice throw."
With only a few minutes between the shot final and his scheduled second flight of the hammer, Geist continued to dominate the action as he manhandled a field that featured five of last year's top nine.
"Building in hammer did surprise me because I am usually not that consistent in practice," Geist said of improving three times on his opening throw of 214-4.
Although he had never competed officially in the hammer until Saturday, Geist gained entry to the event based on his runner-up finish in the weight throw at this year's NB Indoor meet and a measured throw of 198-9 at his high school back in mid-April.
That effort was nothing compared to any of his throws Saturday as Geist would have won gold with four of his five marks and finished a respectable fourth with the other.
Round 2 resulted in a throw of 217-8, and Geist's fourth-rounder covered 221-6. With the victory assured, the 18-year-old whirled once more and unloaded another round 6 monster.
"The last throw felt way different because I have never thrown that far before," Geist said of the effort that bested the field by a whopping 25 feet, 9 inches.
Geist returns to the circle today in search of New Balance title No. 5 in the discus, where he was third a year ago. Future Arizona teammate and roommate Turner Washington is one of the favorites, having finished second in 2016 and sitting on a PR of US#4 227-10 AT from last month's Tucson Elite Classic.