Jason Goodman's WPIAL gold highlights track season for Hampton
From an individual perspective, it could be a disappointment none of the three Hampton track and field state qualifiers reached the finals at PIAAs the last weekend in May.
But coming up short at states doesn't stain a great season, and nothing stains WPIAL gold. Especially if it was the school's first in four years.
That's what senior Jason Goodman did when he went 45 feet, 8 3⁄4 inches in the triple jump at the WPIAL championships at Baldwin. After qualifying for states last year in the event, the Slippery Rock-bound jumper also broke his school record in the long jump with a 22-3, good enough for fifth place and a state qualifier in that event as well.
“The gold medal was definitely my goal going into this year,” said Goodman, who finished third in WPIALs last season. “To (set the school record) in the long jump was definitely a cherry on top.”
Goodman credited a tough training regimen in the winter and fall for building up his strength and endurance. Though the state meet didn't bring as much luck — he missed the finals and finished 12th in the triple jump and 14th in the long jump — it didn't put a damper on the season.
“It seemed like everyone had a bad day that day,” he said. “It was nine in the morning, a little chilly and raining a bit. I was just jumping really low that day.”
Goodman is the first WPIAL champion from Hampton since Jake Adams took gold in the high jump in 2013.
“I cherish everyone who competes for us,” said coach Derek Brinkley, who has had five WPIAL champions in his 14 seasons at Hampton. “But you never forget the kids who win the WPIAL championship.”
Brinkley said the victory showed the contributions of fifth-year jumping coach Joe Cangilla.
“We've had success with jumpers before, but he's felt that he could never take full credit. … Jason is the first kid that (Joe) had through his whole career, so he was extremely excited about it.”
Hampton also had two other state qualifiers place at WPIALs. Junior Mike Yakich took bronze in the 110 hurdles, and sophomore Valerie Fischer, who finished one place out of state qualifying position last year, finished fifth with a personal record in the 400 to reach Hershey. At states, Yakich took 17th and Fischer 12th.
“We always preach to our kids if you just set a personal record, everything will take care of itself. Whether you qualify or medal or finish in the top 10, we just try to get them to do their best and improve, and we got that out of them.”
Brinkley said he was satisfied with all the team's participants.
“We had a little disappointing weekend. … but it doesn't take away from what they did all year and what they did at WPIALs,” he said. “It's just one of those things. It happened to happen to all of them at the same time on the same day.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.