made it look so easy, almost too easy.
Geist and Brianna Schwartz shredded the record books Sunday at Youngstown
State, establishing themselves in convincing fashion as major players on the
national scene in 2015.
Sophomore averages 63-feet plus in series
coaches saw it coming, and anybody following Geist's performances in 2015
probably could have predicted it, too. Sunday's performance was the best thing
thus far from the Knoch sophomore as he almost took over the national lead in
the shot put with his PR and US#2 heave of 65 feet, 10.75 inches.
how disciplined he is with doing stuff," Judy Geist, Knoch's throws coach
and Jordan's mom, said of the significant change in her son since the 2014
outdoor season. “He has to gain weight, so he is disciplined with doing that.
He's disciplined with his training.
he was younger, he would be, 'I don't feel like doing it.' Now he is, 'Let's go
throw. Let's go work technique.' I can see that enthusiasm in him. I think all
around he is really changing."
fourth-round throw Sunday moved Geist within 5.25 inches of the top of the
national rankings, that effort was far from the only bright spot for the Knight
standout. He bested 60 feet on each of his five measured throws and averaged a
whopping 63 feet, 7.4 inches on the day.
“We had been working
pretty hard for this lifting wise," said Mike Hambrick, Geist's club coach and
a longtime family friend. “We just looked at his meet consistency … and putting
it into perspective, I told him this is the meet that you throw your big one."
As has been the case
throughout the indoor season, Geist was well ahead of the competition. His
opening-round toss of 60-6 would have won by almost three feet over Ohio's No.
The sophomore was far
from done, however. Round 2 brought extra meet officials to the throwing cage
to confirm a new meet and facility record of 62-0 that would last until the
next round when Geist blasted a short-lived US#@ 64-2.
“That definitely helps,"
Geist said of the opportunity to throw inside this winter at a factory nearby
in Saxonburg. “As opposed to last year only being able to throw about once a
week, this helps me throw three or four times a week, just trying to get some
technical stuff down."
Able to keep the fire
going into the finals, Geist responded with a pair of 65-footers. The new No. 2
mark was followed by a 65-6.25 and a foul.
“It surprised me not
because I didn't know I could throw that far, but because I didn't know it
would come this early in the season," Geist said of his latest PR in the shot.
How impressive was
Geist's series? All five of his marked throws Sunday would be in the top 7 in
the U.S. this season, with his average bettered by only two other performers.
“I really trust his
judgment," Geist said of Hambrick and his prediction. “We had dinner Friday
night, lifted (Saturday) and he just kept telling me that 'Sunday's going to be
a big day for you.'"
Season debut three times
special for Schwartz
At the same time Geist
was wrapping up his one-man show on the infield, Schwartz was embarking on the
first leg of a remarkable season-opening triple on the 300-meter oval. Each of
the distance races resulted in victories for the Shaler Area standout in times
worthy of the U.S. top 10.
"We wanted to run three
events just to test her fitness and were short on fitness because we had some
issues during the course of the year," Shaler Area coach Sam Bair said of
the senior starting 2015 with a triple. "And we needed to kind of jar her
body back into racing mode, and we needed to do it quickly because there are
only a few meets left before the state meet.
"We missed the last
meet because she had an issue with her leg that was very concerning. What we
did here was we took a major risk, but we felt we had to do it and so far it's
worked out fine."
The opening lap of the first
heat of the 1,600 meters gave no indication that fast times were in the offing.
Schwartz and friendly rival Madeleine Davison of North Allegheny found
themselves stuck in the pack and forced to pick up the tempo dramatically after
a 77-second opening 400.
“I got boxed in at the
very start so I knew it was slow, but I couldn't get out," Schwartz said. “Our
first lap was like six seconds off pace. We just tried to pick it up from there,
but it was pretty rough."
With Davison glued to
her outside shoulder, Schwartz hit midway in 2:27 before the Tiger junior
briefly took the lead. Schwartz got back in front and led the rest of the way,
reaching the finish in a US#3 4 minutes, 55.86 seconds and ahead of Davison's
“I did my best, but it's
really hard to come off of a split that's that much slower than you need to run,"
Davison said. “Especially the first lap is usually a little bit faster than the
rest so it's hard to make up that disadvantage right from the beginning."
The 1,600 proved to be a
sign of things to come in the multi-lap races as Schwartz bettered the facility
record by more than 19 seconds and the first six finishers were from western Pennsylvania.
In the 800, Schwartz led
from the gun as Davison again was never far behind. The initial pace was on the
mark as the Shaler Area senior broke another track record with her US#6 2:14.30
and Davison ran a US#12 2:15.50.
About an hour later,
Schwartz was on the track for the 3,200. Again, she was matched against
familiar WPIAL competitors as Foot Locker Finalist Kelsey Potts of Mt. Lebanon and
Marianne Abdalah of Vincentian Academy headed west specifically for the 10-plus
Abdalah and Potts went
to the front at sub-11:00 pace, while Schwartz settled in about 20 meters behind
before she began to close on the lead duo. Now a trio, the leaders covered the
opening 1,600 in 5:24.
The three standouts ran
as a group until two laps remained. Schwartz then moved to the outside and into
the lead for a solo run over the final 600 meters.
With another meet record
assured, Schwartz finished in a US#7 10:47.90. Potts (10:57.90) and Abdalah
(10:58.96) cracked the top 25 nationally.
“I think I felt the best
in the 3,200 just because I have been working a lot on strength, and I don't
really have the speed that I want that I will have later in the season,"
Schwartz said. “It was just a good way to test my fitness and continue the
believes that news of the senior's debut will travel fast.
“This is going to send a
message because it indicates that her strength is good," Bair said. “It's just
a matter of sharpening, and any coach knows that if your strength is there, all
you have to do is get sharp and that doesn't take long.
“It's been since last
summer that she ran a mile in spikes up on her toes. I think it was just a
matter of getting through that first race, sort of getting the feel of racing
back into her body. After that, the next two races kind of took care of