Former WPIAL champ Goodman embraces decathlon at Slippery Rock
College can open you up to many new experiences. For former WPIAL champion Jason Goodman, it introduced him up to the most multi-faceted of track and field events.
Goodman was one of the best jumpers to come through Hampton, capping his career with a WPIAL title in the triple jump in 2017.
But with the first half of his career at Slippery Rock winding down, he decided to take a leap to something much bigger.
“Jason is a tremendous athlete, and we knew that coming in,” said SRU assistant coach Bill Jordan, who handles the multi-event athletes and jumpers.
“After we evaluated everything this year, we realized that his size and athleticism could lead him to be more valuable to the team than in just the long and triple jumps. So we talked to him about potentially trying out the decathlon.”
The decathlon is not available in high school. It is viewed in the track community as the ultimate ironman event, particularly at the Olympic level. It challenges competitors in all aspects of track and field. It’s a challenge Goodman was up to.
“I just said ‘why not,’ ” said Goodman, a rising junior majoring in exercise science. “I didn’t want to have any regrets. After a week, turns out I qualified for the conference meet. That was three weeks after my first one. I just decided to go with it, and I really liked it.”
Goodman qualified for the PSAC meet in Mansfield, and then finished eighth in his second-ever decathlon at the PSAC championships with a score of 5,411 points. It helped The Rock finish secodn overall.
“With just over four weeks of training, he scored points for us at the PSAC championships,” Jordan said. “Which is just an incredible feat.”
Goodman was influenced by his own ambition to try something new, as well as teammate and roommate Ryan McQuown.
“I think it was just so rewarding,” Goodman said. “With the (decathlon) being so many events, you can PR in every event, it’s just a big confidence booster. … Just seeing him work hard, even if he’s not doing as good as some at all the events, he’s still getting a PR. I think a lot of that hard work paying off is a big thing that made me want to do it.”
Goodman isn’t simply a decathlete, as he participated in jump competitions regularly this year, finishing with 27 top-10 finishes (14 top-five), while also snagging first-place in the javelin (43.65 meters) at the Slippery Rock Open.
“After that first week of training, throwing just kind of came naturally,” he said. “It’s something I picked up really well. It’s not like some of the other events that take a lot of work to get good at.”
As for the offseason, Goodman will have to step up and diversify his training if he wants to get on the podium for next year’s PSAC championship. Increasing cardio will be key with the added mile run at the end of the event.
“We really think Jason has a tremendous amount of potential,” Jordan said. “We think he can become one of the best multi-event athletes in the league, and we’re really excited to work with him on developing in all of the events that he picked up this year in such a short amount of time.”