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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Volleyball/track and field athlete Audrey Goddard has plenty of jump in her sporting career

By Martin Cleary

Audrey Goddard loves to jump.

Put her in a single lane on a track and she’ll fearlessly attack a sprint hurdle.

Have her endure a fast trip around a 400-metre oval and clear multiple hurdles, she’ll do that, too.

Watch her set up on the apron of the track, stare down the horizontal bar, leap into the air as a high jumper and sink into the foam crash pad.

Walk into a gymnasium and you’ll see her vertical jumping ability as an elite volleyball player.

And there’s more to come. Goddard wants to sprint, fly through the air and land in a sand pit as she plans to add long jump to her training and competition schedule as she aims to become a pentathlete.

So much jumping, but so much success.


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Whether it’s track and field or volleyball, six-foot Goddard (she prefers to say she’s five feet, 12 inches) has recently shown she has the potential to be an accomplished individual or valuable team athlete.

At last month’s Youth Nationals volleyball championships in Edmonton, Goddard helped the Ottawa Fusion to the girls’ 18-and-under division 1, tier 4 gold medal. After the Fusion posted 1-2 records in each of the preliminary and power pool rounds, it won three straight playoff games for the national title.

Goddard’s technical and team skills, which she has developed over the past five years, also have earned her a berth on the Ontario women’s indoor volleyball team for the Canada Summer Games Aug. 6-21 in the Niagara region. Team Ontario announced the volleyball team on Thursday.

Surrounding all her volleyball responsibilities, Goddard also was a progressive track and field athlete in a true sense.

After almost 18 months of training and essentially no competitions – definitely none at the high school level for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic – Goddard spent the past four weeks competing for Merivale High School in her final interscholastic track and field season.

At the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association west conference and city championship meets, Goddard posted firsts in her three girls’ senior individual events – 100-metre hurdles (14.76 and 14.73 seconds respectively), 400-metre hurdles (1:08.44 and 1:08.18) and the high jump (1.50 metres and 1.40 metres). She also was a member of the Merivale 4×100-metre relay team, which posted respective winning times of 54.52 and 53.56 seconds.

Once out of the city meets, Goddard found the competition was more challenging, but that would work to her advantage.

At the East Regionals, Goddard remained consistent in the hurdles with solid times of 14.79 and 1:08.78 seconds. But she improved on her high jump by clearing 1.55 metres. The Merivale relay team also continued to get faster, placing third at 52.61.

Merivale’s Audrey Goddard won the girls’ senior 100 m hurdles at the OFSAA East Regionals on May 27 at Terry Fox Athletic Facility. Photo: Dan Plouffe

Goddard, 17, was introduced to track and field at a two-month summer camp, when she was eight years old. She reconnected with the sport for three months in Grade 9 and qualified for the OFSAA provincial high school championships, placing seventh in the girls’ novice 300-metre hurdles.

That brief competitive, but rewarding experience lit the track and field flame for Goddard. It inspired her to train over the past two years and wait for the competitions to return. Track and field had become her No. 1 sport.

“I like the independence of it. You always feel like you’re improving,” said Goddard, who also enjoyed the team concept as a member of the Merivale track and field squad.

“My training prepared me well for my first real taste of what a track season would be like. I didn’t go into the (2022) school season with any expectations. I didn’t know what to expect. Then, I started to see what I could do. I trained this way so this is how I should do. I wasn’t surprised when I did well.”

At the OFSAA championships, she excelled in the girls’ senior 100-metre hurdles, setting personal-best times in her preliminary heat and the final. She emerged with the silver medal.

“It was my best race ever. I didn’t know I could do that. I had big PBs and that also was a shock,” said Goddard, who ran a best-ever 14.29 in the heats and 13.99 in the final. Her previous best time was 14.73.

“That’s a big amount over a 100-metre race. That (heat) was already a big deal and then I took another three-tenths of a second off in the final. It was exciting again and a surprise.”

Having a long stride because of her height, watching how other sprint hurdlers performed and being able to keep a smooth, three-stride pattern between each hurdle has allowed her to run faster.

“The thrill of OFSAA transferred into my race and gave me a boost,” Goddard said about her double PB. “At my practice the Wednesday leading into OFSAA, my coach said something and I did it – attack the first hurdle. I repeated that to myself and it sped me up.

“Having competition up to OFSAA, the people were about a second behind me. No one was pushing or driving me to compete. I needed competition to push myself.”

Goddard also placed sixth in the final of the 400-metre hurdles in a season-best 1:07.84, 12th in the high jump at 1.50 metres and 15th in the 4×100-metre relay in a spring-best time of 51.77.

This was her first season running the 400-metre hurdles intermediate distance, but she learned what the gruelling race was all about. Her high jump effort wasn’t her best, but she’ll continue to work on developing her technique.

When she attends Western University in 2022-23 to study sciences, the honour roll student with an academic average in the 90s plans to train with the track and field team and work her way to becoming a pentathlete. In the indoor pentathlon, she’ll compete in the 60-metre hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800 metres.

She expects it will be a smooth transition as she is familiar with all the events and is training the shot put with 2021 Olympian Tim Nedow of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.

Goddard had her first taste of the OFSAA track and field championships in Guelph in 2019, but her return visit three years later has given her athletic career a definite direction.

“It was definitely a good experience to compete at that level and get more experience,” she said of her OFSAA competitions last weekend in Toronto. “I have more confidence in myself.”

Read More in our 2022 High School Best Series, presented by Louis-Riel Sports-Études, as we tip our caps to top local student-athletes at:
https://ottawasportspages.ca/2022/06/20/ottawa-high-school-best-2022/

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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