Geneseo's Josh Mathis is champion

Claudia Loucks
Josh Mathis, a Geneseo graduate, and now a graduate student at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, gets ready to throw the shot at the NAIA competition.
Josh Mathis won the discus competition at the NAIA Championship Competition held at Gulf Shores, AL.

Geneseo’s Josh Mathis is a National Champion and an All-American athlete.

The Geneseo High School graduate not only broke a 45-year-old record in the discus at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, but he also is the first athlete in the event from St. Ambrose to win an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) title.

Mathis, the son of Neil and Janet Mathis, Geneseo, took first place with his 167-foot, 9-inch throw and was the only one of the 24 athletes who competed in the discus to throw over 160 feet with each throw at the championship competition held at Gulf Shores, AL.

He previously marked a 171-foot, 9-inch throw at the Augustana Twilight Qualifier to break the St. Ambrose standard of 168-feet, 8-inches, set by Mark Smith in 1976. Mathis broke that record with his throw of 52.30m.

The shot put record at St. Ambrose was held by his high school track coach in Geneseo, Wes Vaden, and was broken by Mathis and his St. Ambrose teammate, Mykolas Saloninas, several times this season.

] The record now stands at 17.59m set by Mathis at the NAIA championships where he took fourth place earning him a second All American honor at that meet.

Mathis also captured the national championship in the discus in his first season at St. Ambrose.

After graduating from Geneseo High School in 2016, Mathis studied at the University of Dubuque prior to transferring to Augustana College for his junior and senior years of college.

After qualifying for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships in the shot put in 2020 while at Augustana, the young athlete achieved All-American recognition after the event was cancelled due to the onset of the pandemic.

In addition, his outdoor season was cancelled last year. He earned his undergraduate degree in business from Augustana, and then enrolled in the Masters of Organizational Leadership Program at St. Ambrose in the fall of 2020.

After working as a graduate assistant with the St. Ambrose cross country program, Mathis used his final season of outdoor track and field eligibility with the St. Ambrose track and field team.

He is the third member of the St. Ambrose team to win an individual NAIA National Championship.

In the fall, Mathis will begin his second year of graduate work at St. Ambrose and also will be the graduate assistant for the Ambrose track and field team.