- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Jordan Geist went into the PIAA Track & Field Championships on Friday afternoon with one goal in mind - to break the Pennsylvania state record in the Class AAA boys shot put.

It was certainly a realistic goal for the Knoch High School junior, as Geist was seeded nearly 15 feet ahead of the field and more than two feet farther than the state record of 70-0.

He delivered. On his very first throw of the competition, Geist hurled the shot put 74-3, which was more than enough for a gold medal and a new state standard. The throw is also currently the top in the nation.

“Today, the main goal was definitely to hit the state record,” Geist said. “As far as the competition - the thing I like to do is give them 10 feet onto their throws. So, second place today, in my opinion, was about 68-feet (rather than 58). That just helps me push myself a little bit more.”

Geist didn’t need a whole lot of help. Although he fouled on two of his throws, all six of his attempts were farther than 70 feet, and his record throw of 74-3 actually cleared the pit at Shippensburg University, which measures to just over 73 feet.

“The first throw, there were a few minor technical things that were wrong with it,” Geist said, “so the last five, it was just to try to correct them. Unfortunately, going into the second through sixth throws, I got a little too energetic, and my technique started to fall apart a bit.

“I know there are kids all throughout the country that have a target on my back. Kids in California and Texas are throwing 71 feet, really just trying to push me harder. Hopefully I can get them both at the national meet,” he said.

Although there weren’t any finals on the track on Day 1 of the championships, there were plenty of gold medal winners in the field.

On the boys’ side, Jake Wilson, of Laurel, won the AA javelin (195-3), Brandon Sparr, of Schuylkill Valley, eked out a narrow win the AA long jump (23-9 ½), Ravaugh Diller, of Gettysburg, was first in the AAA triple jump (48-7), and Hickory’s Evan Blaire had a dominating win in the AA discus (184-4).

The girls’ side featured much closer competitions. Emily Stauffer, of Cocalico, was the most dominating victor, earning a win in the AAA shot put with a throw of 45-3 ¼. But her eight-inch victory wasn’t even close to some of the other female winners.

The top four AAA pole vaulters cleared 12-6, but Greer Gumbrecht, of Easton, won on clears. Athens’ Breana Gambrell won the AA long jump with a mark of 19-3 ¾, less than three inches farther than the runner-up. Evelyn Berecz, of Downingtown East, took first in the AAA triple jump (39-5 ½); like Gambrell, Berecz was just three inches ahead of the second-place jumper.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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