While many young athletes dream of qualifying for the NCHSAA track and field state championship, Keelan Goodwin has his sights set on more. He wants to win. The South Stokes senior is currently ranked number one in the state in all classifications for the long jump.
He hit 23-6 on March 10, breaking the school record in the first home meet of the season. On that day, he also went on to win the 110 meter hurdles, triple jump, and came in second in the 200 meter dash.
Having already qualified for states, this will mark his third and final appearance.
Last season he qualified to compete in three events at the state level and medaled in two. Goodwin finished fourth place in the 110 meter hurdles and triple jump and placed tenth in the long jump.
“I started track in eighth grade. Coaches told me to try it out and I ended up being pretty good at it,” he said.
Since then, Goodwin’s pushed himself to become stronger, faster, and fitter.
“In off-season I pretty much run and work in the weight room on my legs and arm strength. I try to get my jumping ability better than it is,” he said. “I don’t run a lot of distance mile wise, but I do a lot of sprints, quick 100’s and 200’s.”
Another aspect of training has included playing multiple sports to keep the 6’3 teen in shape.
Goodwin became an integral part of South’s football program as a running back and earned all-conference accolades.
“I did football because I liked it,” he said. “I usually take the winter off, but this year I played basketball. I didn’t play that much, but the conditioning and practice really helped me.”
Over the years, sports have become a vital part of the athlete’s life.
“It means a lot to me. I know it’s kept me out of trouble. Coaches become like mentors and help teach you responsibility. If you don’t show up to practice, you have to run. There’s consequences for what you do,” he said.
Goodwin credits much of his success to coach Gore, who retired last year.
“I think about him a lot and he’ll always be a part of me,” Goodwin said. “He really inspired me. Even when I would get in trouble, he stuck beside me. He’d come into my classes and make sure my grades were alright. On the track, he pushed me when I thought I couldn’t do something and told me there’s no limit. I believed him.”
Equally important as winning a state title his senior season, Goodwin hopes to go the distance and make it to college where he wants to continue in track and field.
“I’d be happy going about anywhere. I just want to go to school, get an education and better myself and my family. I’d like to major in exercise science and become a physical therapist.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.