Knoch graduate Jordan Geist using 3rd-place finish at NCAAs as ‘learning experience’
A third-place finish in an event at the NCAA Division I outdoor track and field championships is quite the accomplishment for most people.
But most people aren’t Jordan Geist.
The Knoch graduate and Arizona sophomore took bronze Wednesday in the shot put in the national competition at the University of Texas in Austin.
As the second seed, he had his goals and expectations focused on a national championship. But that honor went to Texas sophomore Adrian Piperi with a top attempt of 21.11 meters (69 feet, 3¼ inches).
Geist’s had his best throw of 20.31 (66-7¾) on his third attempt of the competition.
“I was throwing well all season and was really consistent, which is something I hadn’t had in the past,” he said. “But getting third here kind of ended the NCAA season on a sour note.
“It’s still a learning experience for me. I’ve had some trouble competing in bigger meets over the past couple of years. I just have to keep patient until I figure out how to overcome it. I’m not going to be happy until I win a national championship. It’s something I have to keep fighting for.”
Georgia senior Denzel Comenentia, the 2018 outdoor national shot put champ, placed second (20.77/68-1¾).
Geist, fifth in the shot at last year’s NCAA meet, still owns the best throw in the NCAA this season with a personal best of 21.59 (70-10) recorded at the Triton Invitational on April 13. The mark set the Arizona school record and placed him among the top throwers in the world rankings.
He went on to win his second Pac-12 outdoor title in as many seasons. His winning throw of 21.08 (69-2) was the best at the meet since 2011.
Geist earned his No. 2 seed for the NCAA finals after finishing runner-up (20.42/67-0) to Piperi at the NCAA West Preliminary.
For his efforts this spring, Geist was recognized with his fourth U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Field Athlete of the Year award.
“Jordan and I talk on a daily basis about what he wants to accomplish and how we can go about reaching his goals,” Arizona throwing coach T.J. Crater said. “We’re not going to accept this (NCAA third place) as anything but motivation moving forward. I always tell him that you have no control over what happened in the past, but you can use it as fuel moving forward.”
Geist is taking a couple of days to rest his body before getting back into training for competition this summer.
He will find out as early as Monday if he is selected to represent the U.S. in the shot put at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Under 23 Championships on July 5-7 in Queretaro, Mexico. With his 70-10 to his credit, he said he feels pretty confident he will make the trip.
Geist also could be selected to compete in Mexico in the hammer throw. His personal best this year is 67.40/221-1.
He also soon will learn if he will be on Team USA for the Pan American Games in August in Lima, Peru.
“He has a very strong shot to make that roster as well,” Crater said.
What is guaranteed is his participation in the shot put at the USATF Outdoor Championships July 25-28 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. At that meet, he will attempt to qualify for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in October.
“My coaches and I have a lot of thinking to do for training and how we’ll plan out these next couple of months to come back and have a strong showing at the U.S. championships,” Geist said.
Crater said he’s ready to help Geist be at his best this summer.
“We’re not going to go back to square one, but just emotionally, physically and mentally, we have to have a little bit of a reset,” Crater said. “We want him to take a breath, start fresh, get that momentum back he had during the regular season and start setting those high goals again. There are a couple of good opportunities for him to wear the American flag on his shirt and compete at the highest level.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .