Gooding Blazes a Trail at FDU
Added by Sean Neiderhofer on September 27, 2013.
(Photo by Larry Levanti)
As soon as he stepped foot on campus last fall, Darrel Gooding established himself as not only the best cross country runner at FDU, but one of the top competitors in the entire Northeast Conference. He may have gone under the radar due to his sport not having the prominence of soccer or basketball, but his impact on his team has been as great as any athlete on campus.
Gooding’s consistent performance throughout the 2012 season led to three NEC Rookie of the Week honors. He capped the season by being named to the All-NEC Cross Country Team, as well as being named the NEC Rookie of the Year. At the conference championships, he became the first FDU runner since 2006 to finish in the top 10, running his fastest time of the season. The successes continued in the indoor track season, with Gooding being named to the NEC All-Rookie Team for both the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters.
Many athletes who achieve such success early in their careers become complacent and see a drop-off in their performance. Listening to Gooding talk, you know that he isn’t going to fall into that trap. His determination to constantly improve stands out immediately. “My goals for the season include to rank high in the conference (top 5), to represent FDU in the best way I can, and to also make it to nationals,” Gooding told me. He added, “When I run, I always think about the worst race I ever had. It motivates me to keep pushing, and train harder so I can see the results and not feel that way again.”
It is refreshing to see such a talented athlete who keeps his education at the forefront of his life. In fact, academics are an important reason why he chose to come to FDU in the first place. “The staff at FDU seemed to really care for me both athletically and academically,” he said, “I am surrounded by a very supportive group of people being my coaches, friends, staff, and family who want me to succeed.” Currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, Gooding dreams of developing products and ideas that can help people live better lives.
This season, Gooding is starting off just the way he finished last year. At the season-opening Fordham Fiasco, he clocked in at 26:19.28 in the 8k, finishing sixth among 82 competitors. For this performance, he was named Northeast Conference Athlete of the Week. A week later, he finished eighth among 48 runners at the Monmouth Invitational, with a time of 27:07.56. As of now, he has been the top FDU finisher in every race of his career.
Anyone who hasn’t heard of Darrel Gooding is missing one of the great stories in FDU sports over the past 12 months. A short glance at the cross country news archives on fduknights.com will show you all the awards stories and fantastic performances. Darrel Gooding is the present and the future of FDU cross country; and what a bright future it is.