Geist Wins, Garland 2nd, Davies 5th As Pennsylvania Shines at USATF Junior Champs

Photo by Phil Grove

Jordan Geist took home the shot put put win at the USATF Junior National Outdoor Championships, while a number of other Pennsylvanians pulled out successful performances during day two of the action in Sacramento, California.

Geist pulled out a huge throw in the fifth round that shot him up from fourth to first place in the junior men's shot put. Geist trailed Texas star Adrian Piperi through four rounds using the 6kg implement (Piperi held the US#1 spot in the shot all season before Geist's 76-0 at NBNO). But 'The Beast' unleashed a throw of 69-4.25 to take over the lead. Piperi threw his best, a 68-3, on his next attempt, but it wasn't enough as Geist claimed the victory.

It's a bit of redemption for Geist, who placed third at this meet a year ago. Geist will move on to compete at the Pan American Championships in Peru in July. Hickory's Evan Blaire placed 13th in the competition with a best throw of 57-5.5.

Geist, meanwhile, will stay in Sacramento as he'll compete in the Senior Men's Shot Put on Sunday at 2:55 PM. The field includes many professionals and collegians, like Rio gold medalist Ryan Crouser, Rio silver medalist and Bethlehem Catholic grad Joe Kovacs, and Olympian and Penn Wood grad Darrell Hill.

Germantown Academy's Kyle Garland took second in the junior men's decathlon behind only the University of Texas's George Patrick. In some intense heat on day one, Garland was second in the 100 meters (10.98), third in the long jump (21-11), second in the shot put (45-8.5), fifth in the high jump (6-3.5), and fourth in the 400 meters (51.20).

On the day two once again with high temperatures, the rising senior took fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.02), fourth in the discus(131-3), jumped 12-9.5 in the pole vault, placed sixth in the javelin throw (138-10), and second in the 1,500 meters (4:46.80). Garland's final score was 7,083 for a new US#1.

The next stop for Garland is Peru, where he'll also compete at the Pan American Junior Championships in July.

Thelma Davies of Girard College closed out her dream sophomore season. After breaking the all-time state record last weekend at NBNO, Davies journeyed out to Sacramento and will come home with a fifth place finish. Davies ran 11.53 to qualify to the finals, where she ran another 11.53 to take fifth in the finals, which Candace Hill won in 11.37.

Nick Wolk just keeps getting better. One of 2015's most improved XC runners in high school while at Peters Township has kept it rolling at the collegiate level. Wolk, who just finished up his freshman campaign at the University of Pittsburgh, won a thrilling junior men's 5,000 meters. Wolk closed hard and won in 14:26.54 to edge out Oklahoma State's Alec Haines.

Wolk will head to Peru for the Pan American Junior Championships in July, too.

Athens Area's Breana Gambrell has been on a roll this season and it continued into Friday, where she closed out a very strong junior season. Gambrell, competed in the junior women's long jump, took seventh place with a leap of 19-1.25. Tara Davis of California won the competition with an incredible first (and, as it turned out, only) jump of 21-9.

A pair of PA half milers advanced to the finals in the 800 meters. Bishop Shanahan's Josh Hoey ran 1:53.16 to earn one of the eight qualifying spots in Saturday's men's junior final. On the women's side, Friends' Central's Gabrielle Wilkinson put down a season best and PA#2 time of 2:07.76 to win her heat and also qualify for Saturday's final. The women's final is scheduled to go off at 7:18 PM tomorrow, while the men's final follows at 7:23 PM.

Plenty more action from Sacramento comes tomorrow. Check out our full list of PA high schoolers and alums competing at USATF Juniors this weekend.


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