Godfrey's UO track dream runs true

05/07/2010 10:20
Sports Column
Tom Eggers/News-Review

To say Kevin Godfrey is looking forward to the next chapter of his college track and field career would be an understatement.

The 19-year-old Lane Community College decathlete, a 2008 Douglas High School graduate, will join the University of Oregon program this fall. Godfrey signed a letter-of-intent with the Division I Ducks in March.

“For them to be interested in me was a dream come true,” Godfrey said in a phone interview Wednesday from Eugene. “Every athlete who runs track dreams of going to UO. I was nervous coming in (to the season) ... I wasn't sure my marks were high enough to attract attention, but I'm thankful to my coach (Grady O'Connor) who went out on a limb to put my name out there.

“I can't wait to be in the green and yellow. I can't wait for the intensity level to go up another step and I'm ready to be pushed even harder than I have been. Track meets will be more competitive and it's a whole different level, but I'm ready for that.”

Godfrey, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound sophomore, is finishing up his second season with the Titans. He became the fifth LCC decathlete in the past decade to sign with the Ducks, following Billy Pappas (Glendale), Gabe LeMay (Yoncalla), Brian Bartow and Cody Fleming. Tom Pappas (Glendale), Lane's decathlon record-holder with 7,499 points in 1996 and a three-time Olympian, took his talents to Tennessee.

“Kevin has a lot of upside — a coach's dream, work ethic, great student,” said O'Connor, the director of Lane track and cross country. “7,000 points is a benchmark for younger decathletes and Kevin is capable of that. I see him going to the Pac-10 level, getting up there in the low 7,000s and contributing quite a bit.”

Godfrey won his first Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges decathlon title on Tuesday at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. He compiled 6,544 points in the 10-event competiton, 369 points ahead of runner-up Nell Carter of Spokane.

Godfrey's marks included 11.33 seconds in the 100 meters, 52.27 in the 400, 16.20 in the 110 hurdles, 4:33.94 in the 1,500, 15-0 in the pole vault, 20-8 1/2 in the long jump, 36-2 in the shot put, 6-1 1/4 in the high jump, 95-6 in the discus and 44.67 meters in the javelin. His 100 and shot were PRs.

He was the seventh Lane decathlete in the last nine years to win the NWAACCs.

Godfrey was hoping to top his season best of 6,553 set at Chico State on March 5 and possibly challenge his decathlon PR of 6,790 achieved last summer at the USA Junior Nationals at Hayward Field, but the weather conditions were not accommodating.

“It was pretty cold (in Gresham) and got a lot colder the second day,” Godfrey said. “I can't complain. I guess it was an average meet ... I hate to say that because I got the win, but I just know I can compete a lot better than that. I was hoping for a better performance.”

O'Connor agreed.

“It was a success,” he said. “Goal No. 1 was to win the title. It wasn't a great Day 2. Kevin is capable of a lot more — it didn't happen, but he got the win and that's what counts.”

The Titans will now prepare for the Southern Region meet on May 15 at Southwestern Oregon in Coos Bay. The NWAACC Championships will be held May 24-25 at Spokane Falls. Godfrey will compete in a handful of individual events for the Titans, tentatively the 110 hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump and 4x400 relay.

“One of the challenges (for a decathlete) is you can't give one event too much of your time,” O'Connor said. “Kevin is a true decathlete. He doesn't have one stellar event, but he's solid across the board. He has good speed and is still kind of still growing into his body. I think the throws is where you'll see the most improvement next year.”

Godfrey feels his mental game has improved during his time at Lane.

“I used to get upset about an event if I didn't get the mark I wanted,” he said. “I learned from the coaches here you take it one event at a time and once you're finished with that you just move on regardless of what the mark is. That was a big step for me. I learned you don't need to overanalyze things, because you get yourself in trouble when you're thinking too much about an event.”

• You can reach Sports Editor Tom Eggers at 957-4220 or e-mail teggers@nrtoday.com