Q&A with Elija God­win

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL STOVALL gsto­vall@cov­news.com

Sev­eral weeks ago, New­ton ju­nior sprinter Elija God­win pushed past de­fend­ing 100 me­ters state cham­pion and UGA foot­ball signee Eric Stokes from East­side in a closely con­tested 100 me­ter dash.

When God­win crossed the fin­ish line, he threw up his hands in vic­tory in a shoul­der-shrug kind of way, as if to an­nounce his ex­pected ar­rival into the con­ver­sa­tion of top sprint­ers in Ge­or­gia.

But God­win will be the first to tell you that the an­tics of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween him­self and Stokes were all just fun and games be­tween two highly com­pet­i­tive bud­dies.

“Me and Eric, we’re real close friends to be hon­est with you,” God­win said. “He does both (foot­ball and track) like I do, so we re­late and we have a lot of things in com­mon. When we went up against each other, I knew he was com­ing off of the knee in­jury and ev­ery­thing. But, you know, that’s just an in-county thing for brag­ging rights and all that. I was just hav­ing a lit­tle fun with it.”

The fun that God­win, a 6-foot, 190 pound speed­ster on the track and safety on the foot­ball field, is hav­ing is one of the rea­sons why he’s ex­celled as much as he has dur­ing his ju­nior track sea­son.

The two-sport star is part of New­ton’s 2016 Class AAAAAA state cham­pi­onship track and field team. But he’s also a fast, phys­i­cal, run-stop­ping pres­ence for New­ton foot­ball’s de­fense. And with a 3.5 grade point av­er­age, God­win is get­ting it done in the class­room as well.

We had a chance to chat with God­win dur­ing the New­ton track teams’ Se­nior Night cel­e­bra­tion about his im­prove­ment as a run­ner, his top five for foot­ball schol­ar­ships and more.

The Cov­ing­ton News: So we see you out here do­ing your thing on the track just like in foot­ball, and you seem to en­joy both. Which one do you like more?

God­win: “I like both equally, re­ally. They go hand in hand. In track, I like the crowd, the at­mo­sphere. I get to feed off that. Them ac­tu­ally look­ing at you as an in­di­vid­ual more so than just see­ing you as a part of a larger team. I am a team player when it comes to foot­ball, but in track, you get to go out there, with lit­tle kids scream­ing your name and you get to per­form and do what you do as a per­son. You get to show what you can do ath­let­i­cally as an in­di­vid­ual.

“What I like about foot­ball? I love the broth­er­hood of foot­ball. I love go­ing out there and go­ing to war with my broth­ers ev­ery day. I love prac­tic­ing and the com­ing to­gether to cre­ate chem­istry with each other and go­ing out and watch­ing it man­i­fest on the field.”

TCN: How have you im­proved your­self as a track and field run­ner since last year’s state cham­pi­onship jour­ney?

God­win: “I just feel like I’ve im­proved with find­ing ways to help us come to­gether as a team. Like I said, in track most of the time I’m do­ing stuff by my­self and on my own, and in the past I’ve just been caught up in think­ing track is an in­di­vid­ual sport only. But this year I think I’m bet­ter at help­ing the team be a team. I’m bet­ter at find­ing out how to be a team player even in a more in­di­vid­u­al­ized sport. I still go out and do my thing, but I’ve got­ten bet­ter at mak­ing sure ev­ery­one else around me is do­ing their thing too.”

TCN: How do you see your con­fi­dence and the team’s con­fi­dence go­ing into re­gion? Can this team re­peat as cham­pi­ons?

God­win: “I feel like con­fi­dence is the big­gest thing for us. Last year we came out and dom­i­nated and won state, but this year we’ve had some bumps and bruises through­out the year, but we’re start­ing to get right. But now I think build­ing con­fi­dence as we get ready for re­gion­als and sec­tion­als is the best thing we can do right now. We feel we’ve still got the tal­ent, so I’m not wor­ried about that. I know we can go out and com­pete with the best, but we need a big con­fi­dence builder be­fore go­ing into these next meets.”

TCN: So we know you’ve got some foot­ball of­fers. But you’re also get­ting some track at­ten­tion as well. Who’s all of­fered you so far?

God­win: “In foot­ball, it’s Cen­tral Michi­gan, Ball State, Vir­ginia, Sam­ford and Mi­ami-Ohio. I’ve got some other of­fers, but that’s my top five right now of schools I want to go to. And then in track, I can’t of­fi­cially get an of­fer un­til my se­nior year, but I’m get­ting a lot of looks and a lot of mail com­ing in from schools on a daily (ba­sis).”

TCN: Since you like both sports equally, how will you choose which school you’ll go to and what sport you’ll play when it’s time to make that de­ci­sion?

God­win: “What­ever ones I can bal­ance out with my two sports and man­age get­ting a great ed­u­ca­tion, that’s what I’ll be look­ing at. I want to be able to do both track and field and foot­ball and get a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, maybe study­ing psy­chol­ogy. It will come down to where I feel like I can do all three to the best of my abil­ity, and I’ll go where I feel the best fit for all three is.”

Gabriell Stovall | The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton’s Elija God­win is get­ting plenty of re­cruit­ing at­ten­tion from foot­ball and track and field pro­grams alike.

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