Days away from graduation, track athlete looks to college plans

Gainesville senior Cooper Goldsworthy had his senior track season cut short after expectations of making the state track meet. He’s headed to Oklahoma State University on an academic scholarship after finishing third in his class.

Gainesville senior Cooper Goldsworthy had big goals for his senior track season, but the coronavirus pandemic extinguished them.

Finally recovering from an ankle injury, Goldsworthy had designs on making a run to the state meet.

“It was really tough especially since I didn’t get to compete last year due to the injury,” Goldsworthy said. “Missing that was tough. I had been training since cross country with coach [James] Polk and coach [Shaun] Weaver. For all that work to be kind of extinguished was tough.”

While Goldsworthy knew that state would have been difficult to reach, he felt like he was on the right track.

“I’m not saying I would have gone to state,” Goldsworthy said. “Our district, area and region is some of the fastest we have in the state, but I felt like I was the most fit in all my years in high school and I thought I had a chance to go far. My goal was to get a 1:58 in the 800 [meter run] and then below 4:30 in the mile. Those times would have got me to state or at least close to it.”

Goldsworthy finished 22nd at the state cross country meet this year after a less than optimal performance at the district track meet his junior season.

It was there he made a promise to himself to make it to state in both cross country and track.

“I had to heal all summer and I was coming into cross country in rough shape, but coach Weaver really helped me get back into it,” Goldsworthy said. “I was confident I had the tools to get to state in track and when it comes to running, it’s all about peaking at the right time and I don’t think I was there yet. I don’t think I got to my purest form when it comes to running, but I think I was getting there.”

Goldsworthy said he will miss the competition aspect of athletics the most, but he isn’t ruling out running at Oklahoma State University.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to create those types of races,” Goldsworthy said. “Unless I try to walk on at Oklahoma State University, I won’t be able to recreate that competitiveness. It will just be a daily workout kind of thing. I’m thinking about walking on. I think it’s possible. I have the whole summer to train. Since track season stopped, I’ve been putting in miles and lifting weights. I’m going to start emailing coaches.”

Headed to OSU on an academic scholarship, Goldsworthy originally tossed around the idea of running at in college.

“I was really trying to run somewhere at first, whether it was Division II or Division III and I was going to go wherever the money was, so when I got a full ride, it was great,” Goldsworthy said. “It means the world to not have to put pressure on my family financially. For all those essays and test scores to pay off, it’s straight relief. The cherry on top was going to go to school with my brother. My family is from there and the environment is great. The people and the spirit of it really draw me to it.”

Goldsworthy is considering majoring in engineering.

“Ever since I was young, my dad would tell me that engineering is the future,” Goldsworthy said. “It’s a great way to get into the business world and my brother Tyler is majoring in aerospace engineering, so I’ve got some insight.”

He also plans on becoming a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, which follows in the footsteps of his brother and father.

“To me, you instantly aren’t alone,” Goldsworthy said. “You have a newfound group of brothers and friends. You’re able to create lifelong friendships. I think it’s interesting because it’s like a legacy. It’s created a chain like with my dad to me and my friends. It will be like a long-lasting history of friendships and connections.”

As for the end to his senior year, Goldsworthy said he didn’t mind doing his work from home. He’s looking forward to graduation but he described the idea of having graduation from Texas Motor Speedway as a surreal, apocalyptic feeling.

Gainesville High School’s graduation is slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Texas Motor Speedway, 3545 Lone Star Circle in Fort Worth. Graduates will be the only people to exit any vehicle. Those attending will watch the ceremony as it live streams on Big Hoss and listen to audio on the venue’s radio channel at 97.7 FM, and anyone who can’t go may watch it via live stream on the TMS YouTube channel.

“You won’t see your parents in the stands,” Goldsworthy said. “You’ll know they’re in their cars watching it on TV. I’m sure there will be some jokes and laughs, but I feel like there will be something missing. I feel extremely bless that they’re still able to give us some type of graduation and that they’re not giving up.”

Goldsworthy finished third in his senior class and as he turns his attention to college, he knows things will be different for the foreseeable future.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Goldsworthy said “It’s a fresh, new event for almost everything in my life. I’m not too stressed about doing classes on Zoom. We’re kind of in the middle of history. I wouldn’t say I’m stressed, but I’m not ready either. We’re kind of in unprecedented times.”

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