PIAA Feature: Geist shows championship meet pedigree to snag discus gold

It was just a matter of time.

One of the nation's top performers in the shot put throughout 2015, Jordan Geist has been improving in the discus but had yet to reach distances in competition that he had in practice.

That all changed Friday in the Class AAA final as the sophomore added almost 10 feet to his PR and won state gold with a heave of 186 feet, 2 inches.

"I'm definitely satisfied with it, and I can't complain about the consistency either," Geist said of a winning throw that cracked the US top 30 and a series that was the class of the field.

With a strong wind causing issues for those in the field and on the track, Geist wasted no time in establishing himself as the one to beat. His opening toss of 182-2 was a new lifetime best and set the tone for the event.

"It was definitely a great statement to make," Geist said of his opener, which upped his week-old PR from 177-6. "Coming off that (distance and) jumping up into first place, it was a great feeling."

The sophomore's coaches also stressed the importance of his strong opening throw.

"It was exactly how you want to open up a meet," said Mike Hambrick, a longtime family friend and Geist's private coach. "Throwing that opened up the door for him to be agressive, and the confidence level was super high.

"He felt really ready. He had been throwing (180s) in practice consistently. It just needed to come out in a meet and finally we got it."

While Geist was having the best discus day of his young career, Warwick's David Lucas was unable to show the form that had topped 190 feet in three meets this year and was just inches shy of 200 feet at the Penn Relays.

"I should have opened with what my last throw was," Lucas said. "I really should have. I should have been a lot better today."

With his opening effort landing out of the sector, Lucas was second with a 168-11 after four rounds and anxious for more. He moved closer to the leader in round 5 (171-11) and got within a few feet with his final toss of 183-1.

"You can play with the wind however you need to, my throws should have been flatter, they should have been better throws," Lucas said. "The wind can knock them down, but it's not as much of what the wind did today that affected my performance. It was me."

As Lucas struggled, Geist was the model of consistency. His second-round throw of 175-3 was his only measured attempt under 180 feet, while his final throw of preliminaries was the winner.

"He looked good," said Judy Geist, Jordan's mom and throws coach at Knoch. "He needs a litle tweaking here and there, but he is well on his way."

Geist made any chance of one of his challengers catching him more difficult by tacking on two more 180+plus tosses to open the finals.

"Mike was telling him with the wind to keep it low, and he did," Judy Geist said. "He didn't waver at all from what he was doing."