Dianna Goodman ‘fessed up a few days ago.
Winfield’s senior pole vaulter admitted that the real motivation for her record-setting exploits isn’t statewide fame, attention from college recruiters or even valuable points for the Generals, the top-ranked Class AA girls team in West Virginia.
No, her incentive is purely personal. It’s a rivalry, as in sibling rivalry. She wants to one-up her older brother.
Dianna Goodman has cleared 12 feet in the vault several times this season and soared a personal best of 12-5 in the third Laidley Field Invitational at University of Charleston Stadium last month. That broke the former state mark of 12-4 held by Washington’s Lauren Zaglifa since 2017.
But the real record Goodman craves is 13 feet, 1 inch, because that will be higher than the height cleared by Drew Goodman, her older brother, for Winfield in 2010, his senior year, when he went 13-0.
So if Dianna Goodman wraps up a second state championship in her specialty Friday afternoon, as expected, then expect her to go for the family record before her day is done in the pole vault pit.
“My goal has always been to beat his records,’’ Dianna Goodman said with a smile. “In middle school, he went 10-3, so I went 10-4. When he vaulted in high school, he went 13 feet, so I wanted to go 13-1 so I can get his record.’’
Even though she cleared 12 feet in the Region 4 meet last week at Winfield, Goodman wasn’t pleased with herself. She intended to go at least 12-6 that day — perhaps even 12-8 — to set herself up for a 13-1 effort in the state meet at UC Stadium. So she could become a household name in her own household.
“I mean, honestly, my brother’s heights have kind of motivated me,’’ she said, “and also, just a drive inside me of me. I just want those heights. That’s another reason why I had so much emotion after that.’’
Dianna Goodman has to provide her own motivation most meets, because no other high school girl in West Virginia is close to what she’s doing. The best height cleared by a competitor in any other class this season is just 10-3 — more than 2 feet below her personal record.
Perhaps Goodman can follow the path of Capital’s Jennifer Hansen, the state’s first 12-foot female prep vaulter. When Hansen cleared 12-0 in the 2004 Class AAA state meet, it was an effort that would have scored fifth in the boys AAA meet that year.
Goodman trains with Ian Johnson, a junior vaulter for Winfield’s boys team, and said she tries to keep up with his heights.
“Definitely,’’ she said. “He definitely pushes me in practice, and I’ve always wanted to stay right around him this year. But he went 13-6 [in the Region 4 meet], so he’s kind of away from me now. As long as I can stick around him in practice, I feel pretty good.’’
Goodman gets consistent lift over the bar despite the fact she uses just a six-step approach in her run-up to the pit.
“My freshman year, I was on a seven-step at states,’’ she said, before shortening her approach. “My seven-step now? I don’t really know where it is. I’ve never really tried it [lately]. I’ve just been working on six the whole season. I’ve kind of worked more on form. Speed’s good, but I kind of rely a lot on form.’’
As a freshman, Goodman placed second in the state meet to Winfield teammate Shannon Riley, who set a state record that day at 11-1, with Goodman clearing 10-6. The following season, Goodman won the state title as a sophomore at 11-4, breaking Riley’s record.
Last year, of course, COVID canceled the entire track season, which kept Goodman from progressing in her quest for more records, state-wise and sibling-wise. Or did it?
“I mean, I’ve thought about that a lot, honestly,’’ she said. “Part of me thinks it helped me a little bit and part of me thinks it kind of set me back also. Because I used that whole season to get stronger and faster, and that’s obviously helped me a lot. But I also feel like I could have gone 12 feet last year, and then gone 13 feet this year — at least a little earlier.’’
Goodman, who signed with the track program at Marshall on Tuesday during a ceremony at David Bailey Track in Winfield, is also a top-notch long jumper. She has gone 16 feet, 23/4 inches in that event this season, the third-best mark in AA heading into the state meet. She also runs on the Generals’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays, which are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.