Taysean Goodwin believes it’s a “God thing” that he wound up at Emporia State University.
That’s where the Blue Springs High School graduate has become the most decorated sprinter in the history of the NCAA Division II track and field program.
And when you hear his story, it’s easy to see why.
“I had a lot of offers, and it was kind of overwhelming trying to decide where I was going to go,” said Goodwin, a 12-time All-American for the Hornets. “I visited Emporia State and really liked the school and the coaches.
“When I got back to Blue Springs, I was laying on the couch, watching a SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon, and I saw a television commercial for Emporia State.
“I had never seen the commercial before and I have never seen it since, so I figured it had to be a God thing. I took a little nap and woke and realized that Emporia State was where I was going – and it’s one of the best decisions of my life!”
Goodwin may go down as the greatest sprinter in Emporia State history. He was the high point scorer at the 2020 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Indoor championships and holds five school records – 21.13 seconds in the indoor 200 meters, 46.65 in the indoor 400, 46.30 in the outdoor 400 and 3 minutes, 11.26 seconds in the indoor 1,600 relay and 3:08.69 in the outdoor 1,600 (4x400) relay.
He earned four individual All-America honors in the 400, two in the 200 and six as part of the Hornets’ 1,600 relay squad.
This year, in what was supposed to be his senior season, he was named as an All-American in the 400, 200 and 4x400 relay. Because the rest of the outdoor season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national championships were not run, so All-America honors were based on performances from earlier in the season. When the shutdown took effect, Goodwin was ranked second nationally in the 400, fourth in the 200 and he and Brandon Rhone, Hayden Goodpaster and Guy Ramos were ranked fourth in the 4x400 relay.
Goodwin was granted another year of eligibility when the NCAA gave it to all spring athletes because the season was cut short by the pandemic. He has decided he will take advantage of that and run again in 2021.
“What a blessing to be going to Emporia State,” he said. “I worked so hard, and I owe so much to a former teammate, Duke Tibbs, who took me under his wing when I was a freshman and he taught me what it takes to compete and succeed at the collegiate level.”
One of Goodwin’s fondest memories is standing on the podium with Tibbs and Luke Stenzel after he won the 400 meters at the MIAA Championships in his junior season.
“Having our team up there on the podium, I can’t even tell you how special that was for me because Duke and Luke were such great friends and teammates,” Goodwin said. “That might have been my proudest moment.”
The COVID-19 pandemic might have cost Goodwin the chance at a national championship this year, but he now has a chance to earn an Honorary ESPY award. He is one of five nominated as the Small College Male Athlete of the Year for the metro area’s ESPY Awards, which is being presented by Sports Radio 810 WHB.
“I’ve watched the ESPYs all my life,” he said, chuckling, “and now it’s just crazy to think I might win one. I’m hoping everyone from Emporia State and back home here in Blue Springs will take a look and vote for me (visit www.810whb.com).”