Bojangles Notebook: Throws Atmosphere Impresses Geist

COLUMBIA -- Jordan Geist was as impressed with the Bojangles Track & Field Classic as the crowd was with his performance.

Geist, a senior at Knoch High School in Saxonburg, Pa., was named the meet's Most Valuable Field Athlete after winning the shot put and discus events at Spring Valley High School.

"They really treat the throwers with a lot of respect here," Geist said. "(
Friday night) was awesome, especially just having everyone that close and a lot of people getting into it toward the end. Same thing with discus (Saturday). In warmups everyone was oohing and aahing, and then in the competition they were really getting into it."

Geist won the feature event, the shot put, when he established a meet record with his throw of 74 feet, 10.25 inches
 Friday night. He surpassed the previous record of 63-7 set in 1997 by former Olympian Reese Hoffa, who was on hand as honorable meet referee.

Geist won the discus competition with a throw of 189-4, short of his PR of 197-11 and the meet record of 190-10.

"Contrary to popular belief, wind from behind knocks the discus down more rather than carrying out, so a lot of us prefer a headwind, throwing into the wind a little bit more," Geist said.

Veronica Fraley, a junior from Wakefield High School in Raleigh, N.C., won the discus (151-0), was runner-up in the shot put (43-0) and was chosen Most Valuable Field Athlete among the girls.

Seneca senior Carisma Holland, who has signed with the University of South Carolina, won the shot (47-5.5) and finished second in the discus (143-5).

"You see a lot of the same girls around at different meets," Fraley said. "But it's kind of good, because you go back and forth with a lot of them. You kind of know where you're going to be seeded, and just to know that everybody has the same goals in mind as you and that everybody's trying to get better like you are, it just pushes you to be better."

Fraley has a season-best of 154-10 in the discus, 15th in the nation this spring. Holland's 49-2.75 is second in the shot put.

Hilton Head Island sophomore Sam Gilman pulled away on the backstretch and won the boys mile with a time of 4:16.33. 
Gilman ran a 4:16 in the University of Kentucky High School Invitational indoor meet in February.

"I don't think anybody even heard about it. I don't think anybody even knew I was on the radar," Gilman said. "I knew I was going to come out here and surprise a lot of people, and that's what I did. It sounds cocky, but I knew I was going to win it."

Gilman said the race played out just as he had planned. "My goal was to stay in the pack the first two laps," he said, "and then in the third lap, get up in the top, and in the fourth lap, just go with the leader and then kick it in the last 200 meters, and that's what happened."

The Most Valuable Track Athlete among the girls was Campbell (Ga.) High junior Alexis Jones, who won both hurdles events. 
Jones' time in the 400 hurdles (59.44) is the best in the nation this season, and her time in the 100 hurdles (13.86) comes in at No. 20.