Knoch grad Jordan Geist hopes for strong showing in Pan Am Games | TribLIVE.com
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Knoch grad Jordan Geist hopes for strong showing in Pan Am Games

Michael Love
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Knoch graduate Jordan Geist represents Arizona at the NCAA track and field championships June 5, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

For the second time in less than two weeks, Jordan Geist will compete in the shot put against some of the best throwers in the world.

The Knoch graduate and rising junior at Arizona will test his mettle Wednesday evening in a field of 13 at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

“Going into Wednesday, I am just focused on trying to medal,” Geist said. “There is a lot of good competition here, and I am just looking to compete and throw a respectable distance. It is awesome representing the U.S. again, and I just want to represent it well.”

Geist hopes to improve on his 14th-place finish (19.78 meters/64 feet, 10¾ inches) from the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Jordan’s looking as good as he has all year, which is partially irritating the heck out of him and partially getting him excited,” Geist’s coach, T.J. Crater, said. “He knew he let one slip at (nationals) with trying to get a little too aggressive. The moment kind of got away from him a little bit. The next (practice) session we had, he looked like a million bucks. It was a wake-up call to know he can do this. He’s pretty calm and pretty focused. He’s in a good spot right now.”

Wednesday’s competition is scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m.

After a warm-up session, the competitors will have two final throws in the competition circle before the first round begins.

Each will have three attempts in the first round, and the top eight will advance to another three throws in the finals.

Geist put himself in good standing to go to Lima with a personal- and school-record toss of 21.59 (70-10) on April 13 at the Triton Invitational at the UC San Diego.

The official Pan American bid was handed out in early June.

At the end of May, Geist earned All-American honors with a third-place finish at the NCAA outdoor championships in Austin, Texas.

A couple of weeks later, he topped the field in the shot at the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships with a meet-record effort of 20.81 (68-3 3/4).

Geist is one of two Americans in the Pan American field.

Josh Awotunde, 24, a 2018 South Carolina graduate, capped his collegiate career as a two-time NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field first-team All-American. He captured the 2018 NCAA indoor championship.

Awotunde posted personal bests of 21.33 (69-11¾) during his senior indoor season and 20.77 (68-1½) during his final outdoor campaign.

“There are four or five guys who have thrown over 21 meters and another group of throwers who are close to that,” Crater said. “It’s a really good field for a Pan Am championships. Jordan is pretty familiar with a lot of the guys in the competition.”

The throwers hope to challenge the Pan American record of 21.69 established in 2015 by Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards in Toronto.

Everyone continues to chase the world record of 23.12 set by American Randy Barnes in May 1990 in Los Angeles.

“Hopefully, Jordan can have a really good competition and end the year on a really high note,” Crater said.

To follow each round, click here.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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