Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Three-sport spectacular

June 21, 2007

It was no doubt more difficult. It was more stressful and it was more tiring.

It still was never a difficult decision, De Soto's Jackie Goleman said.

Goleman, who recently finished her senior season, didn't just play in three sports. She shined in three sports. Goleman's versatility and athleticism broke through throughout her time at De Soto High School in every sport she participated in. Though she's now heading to Akron on a volleyball scholarship, in her senior year at De Soto she defined the term three-sport athlete, and for that she is the De Soto Explorer's 2007 Female Athlete of the Year.

"I love basketball with all my heart," Goleman said. "I love track to death, and I'm going to miss it so much.

"And volleyball, that's what I have a passion for."

That's a lot of love and it was the root of Goleman's full slate of school-year sports. It wasn't so much that she didn't want to concentrate on any one sport. She couldn't part with any of them, no matter what she wanted to focus on.

It wasn't always easy -- in fact, over the last year it rarely was, she said.

A pressure-packed mid-winter trip to scout out Akron marked the pinnacle of it all. At the time she was in the middle of her regular basketball season in De Soto, playing on a club volleyball team and desperately trying to hold off a scholarship offer from Western State College, in Gunnison, Colo.

"I had so much stress," she said. "I was supposed to give my answer for Western State before I went to visit at Akron, but I said 'You know what, I have to look into this other school. I'm not going to close any doors.'"

She finally made her decision, accepting the offer from Akron, an NCAA Division 1 program. With one of the most important decisions of her life behind her, Goleman said her whole world lightened up.

"Track was like a breeze," she said. "During volleyball season I knew I had schools like Emporia State that had been talking to me, so if I didn't get any offers from anywhere else I could always go play there or go to a junior college or something, but by basketball season there was a lot of stress."

Goleman said none of her senior sporting seasons went they way she'd dreamt, but she still managed to standout as one of the area's best every time.

She did have one of her best volleyball seasons as an individual, recording 346 kills, 63 solo blocks and 53 aces, earning all-area second team honors from the Lawrence Journal World.

The team was good as well, rallying late to pile up wins and upset Spring Hill in the first round of the sub-state tournament. The Cats again missed out on a trip to state, however, falling to Eudora in the sub-state semifinals, and weren't able to equal their 22-16 record from the previous season, finishing 17-19.

Goleman said the stress of her college decision weighed down her basketball performance, but she still managed to lead the team with 13.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, and was selected to the all-area first team.

The team was again good, but didn't advance in the sub-state tournament and didn't match the prior season's record.

Finally in track Goleman would again come short of her dreams, but standout as one of the area's best. Once again a first-team all-area selection, she qualified for state in the 100-meter hurdles and the high jump. She false started in the hurdles, however, and wasn't able to match her high jump championship performance from her junior season.

"It would be state," Goleman said of any senior-year regrets she harbors. "It's state track and losing in basketball. It was the end of the season in every sport. I'd rather have had the endings from different years this year.

"In basketball, it was my freshman year when we almost went to state. In volleyball, I wish we could have gone against someone other than Eudora (the eventual Class 4A state champions.) In track, I'd rather have been the state champion this year."

Goleman's first trip to Akron came during that pressure-packed winter. She watched a basketball game, spent time with the volleyball team and slept at a future-teammate's house.

She quickly grew to love the idea of calling a school more than 800 miles from De Soto her new home. She said she wasn't at complete ease with her decision until recently, however.

A veteran on the club volleyball circuit since her sophomore year of high school, Goleman wasn't new to tough competition or big expectations, but she didn't know what to expect earlier this month as she returned to Akron for a long weekend for freshman orientation with the team.

"I asked, 'What if I'm not good enough?" Goleman said. "The coach at Akron never watched me play. I sent him a skills tape, but what if he made a mistake?

"I loved it though. I surprised. It was a lot better than I thought it would be."

The road would finally seem at an end for Jackie Goleman, three-sport athlete. By no means is that true for Jackie Goleman, extraordinary athlete, however.

That road may just be beginning.

"I was just sitting there right after we got done (at Akron) and was just thinking, 'Holy crap, this doesn't happen,'" she said. "I was thinking about it all -- the hard work I've put in, all the weights and all the things my brother and my family pushed me with.

"It's finally paying off. I can say I worked my butt off and I succeeded with what I wanted to do."



I was talking to one of the girls ont eh team and I said, what if I'm not good enough? The coach at Akron never watched me play. I sent him a skills tape, it had different parts of different games. He never saw me play, and I freaked out and said what if he made a mistake, but everyone was like no one, you'll be fine. Then I came and I had so much more confidence after I'd played. At first I was like "oh god, there's all these girls, it's division 1." The day you stop learning new techniques and new wasys to hit the ball, life's done. There's always going to be soemthign you have to make better. There's always going to be that point in every match where you hit the ball into the net, or you didn't ge the block. I love it though. It just makes you drive and want to be better, evne though it's really hard to get to perfect -- you'll neve rge tthere, but it's awesome to know you'r egetting a step closer every time.


I was just sitting there right after we got done and was just thinking holy crap, this doesn't happen, like ever. I was thinking about it, all this hard work I've put in, all the weights and all the things my brother tried to push me with and my family, ikt's finally paying off. At least I can say I worked my butt off and I succeded with what I wanted to do.


Regrets: It'd hve to be state, and losing in basketball, wher we lose so bad. We just freaked out. It's the end of the season for every sport. In different eayrs, I'd rather have themb e my ending. Like for basketball, in my freshman year we almost wen tot state. Then for volleyball where we went to the second round. Last yaer we did good, but we should have had better points gainst Eudora. I wish we could have gone against someone else and seen what we would have done. IN track, I'd rather be state champion this year than last year, because those memories are the ones I'm going to keep forever, and it would have been so much better to have it all at the end.



The volleyball team



22-16 17-29


Senior years come better than the previous nine months did for Jackie Goleman.

Goleman's even had better years, arguably.

But for her consistency and versatility, for her commitment and her XXXXXX, Goleman is the 2007 De Soto Explorer Athlete of the Year.



I went up there during basketball season before one of our games. I went up and talked to the team and watched the Kent State- Akron game. That's their rival. IW atched that gbame and the bugygs basketball game and walked to the team and slept over and one of the girls housese. I just talked to thema dn got to know them, and I just liked the atmostphere so with a scholarship and everything I said why not? Why would Iw ant to pass this up. Then Ihad to do my freshman orientation. They built in a practice, a team summer pactice led by the seniors, so that's what we did this weekend. We played and we were out playing with the team and we had 12 people and just had a two day playing around day. We played for two hours on Saturday and Sunday we played in the morning and at night, then weplayed on Mondy after our orientation. I was actually kind of surprised. I thought I was going to do bad, but it was a lot better than I thought it would be.

I was just sitting there right after we got done and was just thinking holy crap, this doesn't happen, like ever. I was thinking about it, all this hard work I've put in, all the weights and all the things my brother tried to push me with and my family, ikt's finally paying off. At least I can say I worked my butt off and I succeded with what I wanted to do.

Lets just say during basketall seasdon, Id on't think I'v eever played so bad. I just had tso much stress. There was two diffetne colleges I had to chose from, either rWestern State COlleg ein Colorado or Akron. I was supposed to give my answer for Western State before I went to visist at Akron, but I was like you know what, I have to go into this other collge. I'm not going to close any doors. I need another rweek. They're division two. Akron's diviaon one, so thtere's a big difference. Akrons like a huge school and I need to experience obht of them. I was so stressed out because I had club volleyball during basketball season also. Iw as trying to flip those all round and do my school work whenver Ihja d free time between those. Afgetr basekeball season was over and I made my decision that I was going to Akron, it was so much easier. Track was like a breeze. The whole yaer I didn't reallyt hinka bout it. During volleyball lseason I knew I had schools like Emporia State that had been talking to me, so if I didn't get any offers from anywhere else I could always go play there or go to a JUCO or something. It was a lot of stress.

I actually did kind of questiyon it, but I love my girl Kira too much and I told her I would do it. I love basketball with all my heart but volleyball's a different passion of mine. I show more passion for it than I do basketball. Basketball's not really my strong point and I wanted to paly because it's my senior year and there's always people that have gone with me since seventh grade and I didn't want to just stop on them. And I didn't want to make Coach Spencer mad, but I also k new if I didn't do it, I'd regret it. I knew if I got injured in basketball, then so be it. That's God way of telling me whatever happens, happens. My dad freaked out and said if you get injured and don't get a scholarship you're going tos crew yourself over, but I said you know what, these girls mean a lot to me and right now I can put my own happiness on the line. I don't have to go to college for sports, evne though I want to really bad. If all else fails and I get injured, that would suck, but I could tear my ACL playing a pick up game of volleyball. It could happen anywhere.

It made me a strong person, mentally and physically, and it kind of made me a more rounded person. I have more friends in different sports. It's not just all volelybal leople. I'm happy I did it. I don't regret anything.


My sophomore year I started playing club volleyball and that's when I was like "I like this." Ever since then I always wanted .. .before then I always wanted to do basketball. It was me and Kira and we wanted to do the Collison and Heinrich thing. That's what we envisioned, but it changed once I started playing club volleyball. Iw as like I like this better. It's a mental sport. Basketball is too, but volleyball, you have to have problem soliving skills to be able to find spots and stuff. I love the game of it. There's so much energy. You can' really celebrate too much after every three pointer, but aftger a k ill in volleyball ev eryone is screaming and jumping.

I was talking to one of the girls ont eh team and I said, what if I'm not good enough? The coach at Akron never watched me play. I sent him a skills tape, it had different parts of different games. He never saw me play, and I freaked out and said what if he made a mistake, but everyone was like no one, you'll be fine. Then I came and I had so much more confidence after I'd played. At first I was like "oh god, there's all these girls, it's division 1." The day you stop learning new techniques and new wasys to hit the ball, life's done. There's always going to be soemthign you have to make better. There's always going to be that point in every match where you hit the ball into the net, or you didn't ge the block. I love it though. It just makes you drive and want to be better, evne though it's really hard to get to perfect -- you'll neve rge tthere, but it's awesome to know you'r egetting a step closer every time.

If I'd gone to Western State, Iw as going to go Trakc and volleyball. I wanted to do volleyball on top of everything, but basketball, there was a conflict with it, I wouldn't have time, but track I would want to high jump, and they said I'd be able to. I love track to death, and I'm going to miss it so much. The thing is, they leave their track high jump pit out, so I can go out there and do my thing. I told Dinkle this, I'm going to go and hurdle. I still avhe a passion for it and it's always going to eat me alive when I'm not doing it or when I see people doing it, and I'm not a=ble to.

I love running. I can' run a long distance, but I love the atmosphere of track, the nerves you get. There's not hing more never racking than stading in the blocks waiting for the gun to go off, like at state -- I don't even want to talk about that. There's nothing more exciting and exhilarating than that.

Regrets: It'd hve to be state, and losing in basketball, wher we lose so bad. We just freaked out. It's the end of the season for every sport. In different eayrs, I'd rather have themb e my ending. Like for basketball, in my freshman year we almost wen tot state. Then for volleyball where we went to the second round. Last yaer we did good, but we should have had better points gainst Eudora. I wish we could have gone against someone else and seen what we would have done. IN track, I'd rather be state champion this year than last year, because those memories are the ones I'm going to keep forever, and it would have been so much better to have it all at the end.

There will enver be doub t in my mind. The memories I have of senior year are amazing. There are so many prac tices and so many times of peoel doing the dumbest stuff ever. I wouldn't change that for the world. I'd have to leaveuit how it was.

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