A pair of Southwest Louisiana track and field standouts got a chance to go to Track Town USA and left their marks last week on a national stage at the Nike Outdoor Nationals.
South Beauregard’s Trinity Spooner won the javelin national championship and Westlake’s Tristan Goodly won the inaugural long jump showcase at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
It is one of the most revered track and field stadiums in the country and has hosted several USA Track and Field National Championships and US Olympic Trials and NCAA championships.
“It’s just really incredible,” Spooner said. “The facilities are what you will see as a college athlete.
“It is probably the best experience for any high school kid who is looking to pursue a college career. If you make it to the NCAA or anything further on, even the Olympics Trials, all of that is hosted in that stadium. All these professional people are competing in the same area as you, that gives you a different kind of respect for it.”
Spooner, who won her second Class 3A javelin state championship in May, won the championship with her fifth throw, but her sixth toss of 162 feet vaulted her to No. 3 in the nation despite rainy weather.
“There is an old saying that ‘You throw the point, you don’t throw the grip,’” Spooner said.
That one I definitely found the point. As soon as it left my hand I knew it was going. I had never thrown over 160 until that day. A lot of it has been timing and patience. I tend to rush and it puts me out of position.
“At Hayward, it was actually raining, so I was being a little more cautious and paying attention to my timing. I don’t know if that is what made it click for my brain. If you are not patient, you are going to fail. So I guess the rain helped.”
The showcase-style competition was added to the Nike Outdoor Nationals this season. Instead of the standard six-attempt prelims and finals, the showcase starts with three attempts.
The top eight are placed in a bracket. Goodly, a four-time state champion, missed on his first two attempts but recorded a personal best of 23-31/2 to take the top seed and beat Titus Morris (Tacoma, Wash.) with a 22-4 in the final showcase .
“The experience was great,” Goodly said. “I was just so grateful to even be there.
“It was very fun and exciting. It felt really great to be a part of the first-ever long jump showcase at nationals, and being that I was the first ever to win it, it was an amazing honor. I scratched my first two jumps in the prelims and on my last jump I took the first seed and won the competition.”
In the triple jump national championship, Goodly placed fourth (47-53/4) to earn all-American honors. Goodly is ranked 11th in the nation in the triple jump after his Class 3A state title-winning jump of 48-7 in May.
Spooner said she has been in contact with Stanford of the Pac-12 but said topping 160 feet has brought more interest from colleges.
“I definitely got a lot of messages after that one,” Spooner said. “My future is looking pretty bright.”
Goodly, a two-sport athlete, is looking to gain more offers.
“I have a couple looks from Baylor and West Point but only one offer from the Air Force for track,” Goodly said. “I’m trying to get noticed more, but I think it will fall into place for senior year.”