On scholarship: Goodale relies on mettle to find home in Oregon

By KEVIN JAKAHI

Hawaii Tribune-Herald

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It doesn’t always snow in Alaska, just like it doesn’t always rain in Hilo, climate trivia facts Grayson Goodale can pass on when he moves to Oregon, where it snows and rains all the time.

Goodale grew up in Alaska, golfing when snow didn’t cover the courses and swimming in a nearby lake when short summers made an appearance.

The family moved to Hilo before his sixth-grade year, and later his mom Sandra Goodale became the Waiakea girls golf coach.

When he became a Warrior, Goodale jumped into swimming, cross country, and track, the latter two designed to improve his time in the pool.

He never won a BIIF race, competed at the HHSAA championships only as a senior but landed a partial scholarship at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

“I’m excited to be doing the sport that I’ve always enjoyed,” said Goodale, who’ll major in fire science. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue for another two years after being at Southwestern.

“I grew up loving being at the lake and in the water. When I wasn’t in the lake, I would be at a golf course.”

How does someone get a scholarship who never earned a gold, silver or bronze BIIF medal?

Goodale’s highest BIIF finish was seventh in the breaststroke and eighth in the 500-yard freestyle.

Hard work not only applies to the pool but outside as well. Goodale emailed schools, and Southwestern Oregon coach Sandra Bullock showed the most interest.

He joined Warrior Aquatics after his sophomore year and continues to train with the club team. Goodale is one of those swimming fishes who can’t stay out of the water.

Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for “The Blind Side” in 2009. Goodale’s favorite Bullock film is “The Heat,” the action-comedy, co-starring Melissa McCarthy.

He joked that it’ll be easy to remember the Lakers coach’s name. He just needs to think about his mom’s first name and “The Blind Side.”

Unfortunately for autograph seekers, Sandra Bullock, the Academy Award winner, didn’t retire from acting.

Last October, Goodale went on a college-seeking mission and stopped at Southwestern Oregon, where he discovered a few facts about Bullock, the coach.

She’s been coaching the men’s and women’s programs for the last four years. Bullock graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and retired as a Lt. Commander. Two years ago, the Laker men finished second at the juco national championships and the women fourth.

“She set up a tour, and she invited me to swim with the team,” Goodale said. “The team was super open. It’s a good environment. It felt good like I was not leaving the high school team I was with. It was on a lake, which was a good factor.”

He did a four-year tour with each of his sports. Goodale ran long-distance events in BIIF track, and that helped his swim times, which he sent to Bullock.

Golf and track and field run during the spring season, so Goodale had to put golf on the bench, but it still lives as a family sport.

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On a recent family golfing competition, he shot a 120, which made his swimming decision from four years ago look like a better choice.

“In golf, my mom kicks my butt,” said Goodale, who added that it would be no contest in the pool. “It’s my dad (Greg) I have to worry about. He used to swim in high school.”