PIAA Track & Field Highlights – Day One
Friday, May 27, 2016 | 8:53 PM
Is it really a 12-pound shot put in Jordan Geist’s hands? The way it sails on his throws, you’d swear it was a softball.
Geist, a junior at Knoch High School, is the No. 1 high school shot putter in the country this spring and Friday he added some distance to his reputation as the best shot putter in Pennsylvania history.
Geist set another meet record when he threw 74 feet, 3 ½ inches at the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University. He broke the 11-year-old Class AAA record of 70-0 set by Central Dauphin’s Ryan Whiting, who made the U.S. Olympic team in 2012.
Not only was it a state championship meet record for Geist, it was the best throw of any meet in the history of Pennsylvania high schools. Who threw the previous best? Geist, of course. He threw 73-0 ¾ at the Penn Relays in April.
At Shippensburg, Geist had his winning – and record breaking – throw on his first attempt. He fouled on four of his next five attempts, but there was no one to touch him. The next-best throw was more than 10 feet behind. Greensburg Salem’s Lawson Monta threw 61-1 ¼ to finish second. Hempfield’s Dom Marshall gave the WPIAL the top three spots when he finished third at 57-5 ¼.
“There were actually a few technical things wrong with [the first throw],” said Geist. “But the biggest thing is I had a great finish on it – a nice, long, linear finish.”
Geist might not be done with winning gold medals, though. He will compete in the discus championship on Saturday. Geist won both the discus and the shot put last year.
Friday was the first day of the two-day meet at Shippensburg. Half of the field events were contested. The rest of the field events and all running finals will be Saturday. On Friday, all running events were preliminary races.
The other champion from the WPIAL Friday was Laurel’s Jake Wilson, who won the Class AA javelin with a throw of 195-3.
Wilson was only the No. 7 seed coming into the PIAA meet. Seeds are based on results at district championships and Wilson threw only 177-10 at last week’s WPIAL championship. The No. 1 seed, Bedford’s August Cook, had thrown 209-8 at the District 5 championships. But Cook threw only 189-3 at the PIAA meet to finish second.
Wilson felt he was helped by being pushed more at the PIAA meet.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of competition in the WPIAL,” said Wilson. “There was in Triple-A, but not in Double-A. Up here, there was a lot more competition.”
In other meet highlights, the WPIAL had three athletes win silver medals. Central Catholic’s Bricen Garner was second in the Class AAA triple jump with a leap of 48-4 ¾. It was a personal best for Garner, who is a Pitt football recruit. He lost by only a little more than two inches. Defending champion Ravaughn Dillard of Gettysburg was first at 48-7.
Garner will not compete in track and field at Pitt. It’s only football for him.
“I can’t wait to start college,” he said.
Brownsville’s Maris Seto finished second in the Class AA high jump with a mark of 5-6. Tyrone’s Evika Voyzey finished first at 5-7.
Seto also finished 15th in the long jump and will compete in the triple jump Saturday. Seton-LaSalle’s Raja Rutherford finished third in the Class AA long jump.
Union’s James Thomas finished second in the Class AA high jump with a leap of 6-8. Palmerton’s Spencer Hay won at 6-8. Although Thomas and Hay cleared the same height, Hay won the tie with fewer misses.
More Track and Field• Westmoreland high school notebook: GCC’s Corinn Brewer stands out in national decathlon competition
• Westmoreland County Girls Athlete of the Year: Olivia Cernuto, Southmoreland
• Hempfield’s Nickal finishes 7th, Latrobe’s Green 8th at Olympic trials
• Green gets Olympic reprieve; Williams, Wiltrout come up short
• Hempfield’s Williams, Latrobe’s Green advance at U.S. Olympic trials