BUCKHANNON- It is official. Buckhannon-Upshur multi-sport star Emily Godwin is heading to Chapel Hill.
Tuesday afternoon, Godwin officially signed with the University of North Carolina to join the Tar Heel track team. Surrounded by family and coaches, she smiled as she made the move to take her talents south.
"It just felt like where I needed to go. It just felt right," Godwin said. "When I took my visit to campus, everything just clicked. They have some great coaches, and it was a good fit academically. I wanted a bigger school, but one where I could still walk everywhere I needed. It is a beautiful campus I am excited about my decision."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Ferguson
Buckhannon-Upshur’s Emily Godwin signed a letter-of-intent on Tuesday to run track at North?Carolina. Seated along with Godwin in the front row, from left to right, are mother Diana Godwin, father Jeff Godwin and grandmother Wilda Godwin. In the back row are soccer coach Tom Hasbrouck, track coach Jackie Zuliani, principal Bob Wilmoth, superintendent Scott Lampinen, athletic director Randall Roy and club?coach Marshall Murray.
While being recruited by several major schools, Godwin chose UNC over her short list that included West Virginia, Penn State and the University of Virginia. Tar Heel head coach Harlis Meaders and his staff are getting an athlete that has garnered several national accolades.
Godwin captured the national title at last summer's U.S. National Meet in the Junior Olympics, and complemented that effort with a fourth place national finish in the heptathlon. Godwin states that the Tar Heels plan to use her in the heptathlon, while specializing in the high jump.
During her high school career, Godwin was a major cog in what will no doubt be remembered as a golden age for B-U female athletics. Her senior class enjoyed a 72-12 four-year soccer record, including a 22-2 mark and a Class AAA Final Four appearance this season. Playing for legendary head coach Tom Hasbrouck, Godwin scored 79 goals and recorded 85 assists as a four-year starter, including 32 goals and 30 assists as a senior.
"Emily is the best athlete I have ever coached," Hasbrouck said. "In my 28 years of coaching, male or female, I have never had a kid who could instantly turn it on to another gear so quickly on the field. The best thing about Emily is how humble she is, she has always been all about the team first."
In track, Godwin has been a part of a very special group for coaching great Jackie Zuliani, capturing Class AAA titles in 2010 and 2011, while finishing as runner-up in 2012. Godwin has collected nine titles in the State Meet, two as a freshman, three as a sophomore, and four as a junior. Along the way, she has established state records in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, and the shuttle hurdle relay with her sister Susie Godwin, Lauren Cvechko, and Ashley Hall. She has posted personal bests of 5'10" in the high jump, 18'4" in the long jump, 14.60 in the 100-hurdles, and 43.96 in the 300-hurdles. Her high jump is an all-time state best.
"I am excited that Emily chose a program that is really going to get her to the next level," Zuliani said. "I feel grateful to have been a part of all of it, and she has been great to have in our program."
Not lost in the Godwin signing is that her Lady Buc career followed another Class AAA high point performer in Chelsea Carrier. Carrier went on to an All-American career at WVU and qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials. A feat that is certainly within reach for Godwin.
"As a coach, somebody has to be very fortunate just to get one of those truly "special" athletes in a career," Zuliani said. "I feel incredibly blessed that I have been able to coach two of those athletes here at B-U."
Indeed it is amazing that the run of talent has been this strong and this deep in such a small town in central West Virginia. The accomplishments of this Lady Buc senior class is more special to Godwin than any personal accomplishments. This group is hoping to snag one last Class AAA title this Spring before moving on to their collegiate careers.
"I couldn't really ask for a better group of girls to be graduating with," Godwin said. "I have a lot of teammates who are really good athletes, but they are also great people and really strong academically."
"As much as she has done athletically, we are even more proud of what she has done academically and being active in the school," Upshur County Superintendent Scott Lampinen said.
At B-U, Godwin is also president of the FCA, vice-president of the Senior Class, and is the reigning Homecoming Queen.
Godwin is following in the footsteps of her family who also have enjoyed stellar college careers. Her father Jeff, played linebacker on the William and Mary football team while also enjoying a national caliber career as a thrower for the Tribe track team. Her mother Diane was a standout tennis player at West Virginia Wesleyan. During her career, she twice the WVIAC individual champion, and was on two league championship teams for coach Sam Ross. Her sister Susie has enjoyed a college soccer career at Waynesburg College.
While she still has work to do in the Blue and White this Spring, Godwin set her sights on the ACC Tuesday.
"I am very happy to have may decision, and I can't wait to start competing for North Carolina," Godwin said.