Knoch grad Jordan Geist looks to maintain momentum at USATF championships
Jordan Geist will throw the shot put July 26 at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, and he heads into the event with momentum from a gold medal and a new record at a recent meet in Mexico.
Geist, who also earned All-American honors with a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships early last month, topped the field in the shot at the 10th North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships.
The Knoch grad hit his top throw of 20.81 meters (68 feet, 3.75 inches) in his final throw of the competition. It was a meet record, surpassing the previous top mark of 20.64 meters (67-7) established in 2006 by American Garrett Johnson.
“The distance could’ve been better, but it was just a step in the right direction after how NCAA’s went,” Geist said. “We’re just using (Mexico) as a building block for the next coming meets that we have.”
Geist won the event by more than two meters, and five of his six attempts — he fouled on one attempt — would have secured the title.
Geist said his showing in Mexico was a confidence builder after what he called a frustrating performance at NCAAs following a consistent regular season. His top throw at nationals was 20.31 (66-7¾).
“We had made a concerted effort to make some technical improvements and get back on track after NCAAs,” Arizona throwing coach T.J. Crater said.
“The entire time in Mexico, his technical execution, his body language, his posture, just the overall way he carried himself, he looked really good, calm and comfortable. He just got in there and got after it. Any time you can win a gold medal wearing a Team USA jersey, it’s a huge thing. It was a good experience for him.”
Geist is training this week with Crater at a track and field camp in Idaho as he prepares for the USATF Outdoor Championships.
“I am around track and field for a week and focused on that as opposed to having school going on or worrying about other problems elsewhere,” he said.
“We continue to focus on Jordan’s rhythm and feel for the throw, listen to what his body is telling him and train him accordingly,” Crater said. “We’ll sharpen him up closer to the championships, and he’ll be ready to go.”
Geist is one of 18 in the shot put at nationals, and he cleared the 20.30-meter qualifying standard several times during the qualifying period that began 13 months ago.
He achieved his top qualifying throw of 21.59 meters (70-10 feet), an Arizona school record, during the Triton Invitational on April 13 on the campus of the University of California at San Diego.
“(Nationals) a great opportunity to measure how I am progressing from what I did well in Mexico,” Geist said.
The top three place finishers in the shot at nationals qualify for the IAAF World Outdoor Championships Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar.
“We have our work cut out for us,” Crater said. “It might be a little bit of a long shot, but he has a chance. He’s in the mix, and that’s all that matters. I’ll take that every time.”
Geist’s personal-best distance also automatically placed him in the men’s shot put field for the Pan American Games Aug. 7 in Lima, Peru.
“I am really looking forward to the great competition at USAs with the opportunity to represent my university, and then doing the same representing the U.S. in Peru,” Geist said.
“I have the confidence to do well at both.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .