HARKER HEIGHTS — Even the cake overlooked Terance Goodwin.
Thankfully for the senior Harker Heights speedster, the track and field coaches at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock didn’t.
Goodwin, a 5-foot-7 running back/receiver and sprinter, had long fought to make a name for himself.
But at his signing ceremony Monday morning at the Harker Heights field house, the prerequisite celebratory cake congratulated “Thai” — his 15-year-old little brother.
“It was funny, but at the same time, his name is going to be next on that cake so it’s all fine in the end,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin humbly laughed off the slip-up, just happy it was his name scribbled onto the dotted line on the national letter of intent to run track at Arkansas-Little Rock.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and now that it’s finally came, even though it’s the last week of school, it doesn’t matter (because) I get to have this moment,” Goodwin said.
Waiting until the last week of the school year to make his college choice has been a source of trepidation and personal uneasiness for Goodwin and his family.
“At the time, it was hard for him to get somebody to actually (commit to him),” said his mother, Robin. “And then the last phone call he made, (UALR track) coach (Milton) Williams was like, ‘Most definitely, I’ll sign you.’ So I’m just grateful and humble for the opportunity he’s getting, because he’s well deserved of it.”
Goodwin said he chose to run track for UALR over potential football offers from North Texas, UT-Arlington and Angelo State.
“It’s a huge relief. I did this … for my mom, to help her out financial-wise, so for her to not even have to pay a dime means the world,” Goodwin said.
Things haven’t been particularly easy for the undersized tailback.
As a junior on JV, Goodwin suffered a broken left leg during a mid-season football practice, further inhibiting him. It wasn’t until this past year that he was able to splash onto the athletic scene.
“It was a huge struggle, I was running fast times, but my injury came and really set me back,” he said. “Now I’m finally overcoming it and running the times I was running before.”
With several other players still recovering from preseason injuries, including expected starting running back Marcus Anderson II, Goodwin rose to the occasion and carried the load for a team-high 489 rushing yards on 88 carries for a 5.56 yards-per-carry average and two touchdowns.
In track, Goodwin again was allowed to shine after an injury to friend and Arkansas-signed sprinter Brandon Hill, taking over as the anchor leg of the Knights’ 400- and 800-meter relays, and running in the 100 and 200.
But one thing was always apparent about Goodwin — his speed. He ran a personal-best time of 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter dash at Copperas Cove.
“He’s worked hard his whole four years at Harker Heights High School with football and track,” his mother said, “and it’s finally paid off.”