Blue Springs High School graduate Taysean Goodwin remembers when he tried a mixture of long distance and shorter distance races in high school.
He ended up sticking with the shorter races and he said it was the best decision of his track and field career, which has now blossomed in college at Emporia State.
“I didn’t like the 800 (meters) in high school,” he said. “The 200, I really loved. The 400, I really loved. I knew I was a sprinter because when I ran the 200, I never got tired from that. But the 800 killed me.”
Last weekend, Goodwin took second in the 400 meters (47.15 seconds), anchored the 4x400-meter relay team that finished third (3:11.57) and was eighth in the 200 (21.58 seconds), earning three All-America honors at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas.
At the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season, he earned All-America honors in just the 4x400 relay.
The junior accomplished his goals for the indoor season and came close to knocking off the winner, Ashland’s Myles Pringle, who finished in 45.93 seconds.
“I did what I wanted to do,” Goodwin said. “I made improvements in the 400. I didn’t make (the top eight in outdoor), so to take second at indoor is great. In the 4-by-400, we were pretty consistent. We were third last year, also. So that showed we were pretty consistent.
“(Pringle) had a target on his back this year. He had to protect it. I will have to try again at the outdoor championships.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Goodwin has found success at the college level as he was a big part of two state championship teams at Blue Springs, where he earned all-state honors in four events his senior year and three in his junior year.
Oddly enough for him, the jump from high school to college wasn’t a big one. He had help from senior Duke Tibbs to guide him along the way.
“I just had people to push me every day in practice,” Goodwin said. “That was the thing that got me into it a lot more easier than anyone would have thought. I had someone to follow. At Blue Springs, everyone was the exact same because everyone was good. Here, I had people better than me – a lot better than me. Those guys helped push me an extra inch further.”
He still has the spring outdoor season coming up to add to his list of college accolades, which means he has to make a few adjustments in his approach.
“(Duke) has been teaching me and pushing me. I have learned a lot from him,” he said. “For indoor, you have to get to the cutoff first. For outdoor, you try to run a little more conservative.”
The talent is there for Goodwin, and he’s tasted the greatest success he’s ever had at the college level last weekend. But there is still one elusive goal he wants to achieve before his college career is over.
“I am trying to get a gold (medal) somewhere in here,” Goodwin said. “Whether it’s this indoor, or next year’s indoor or the outdoor after. I am going to try and get a gold and being a national champion.
“We have one of our best 400 guys coming back for outdoor. That’s going to make our 4-by-400 a lot stronger. I heard that we really have targets on our back because of that. Our times should really go down. And in my individual events, I know I am a contender.”