YUCCA VALLEY — Any avid reader of the sports section of the Hi-Desert Star is sure to recognize the name Daniel Goddard. A Yucca Valley High School junior, Goddard competes in cross country, soccer and swimming and has been recognized as the Yucca Valley High School Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2017-2018. The award is given by the California Interscholastic Federation, which determines the winning recipient for each school after looking at academics and athletic performance.
“He’s an outstanding individual. He is a tri-sport athlete and it shows you the diversity of his talents; he’s good at many things. And one of those things is also academics,” athletic director Adam Wright said. “We love any opportunity to highlight and recognize athletics and academics.”
Goddard has run cross country and competed in swimming for all three years of his high school career and played soccer for two years. He credits much of his athletic experience to his coaches.
“A lot of it has to do with the coaches and support I’ve been receiving,” he said.
Not only is Goddard active in sports, but he also is involved with school programs and academics. Serving as the junior class vice president for ASB, Goddard is busy preparing for the Every 15 Minutes program, an annual event raising awareness about drunk driving, as well as helping plan prom.
Goddard is also the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of both Key Club and Interact, two school service clubs. In addition to extracurricular activities, Goddard is the top-ranked student in his class academically.
The recognition as Athlete of the Year came as a surprise to Goddard. The school shared the news over the intercom during student announcements as a way of showcasing Goddard’s achievement.
“We are extremely proud as a school of Daniel and his accomplishments,” Wright emphasized.
Goddard said he thanks parents, family, friends and God for the recognition.
Thinking beyond high school, Goddard is interested in competing in sports at a college level but would want to be a walk-on and get accepted academically. He’s currently considering studying finances or economics after high school graduation.
Top of his class, invested in extracurricular activities and involved in three sports, Goddard’s advice to younger athletes gives a glimpse into his personal success.
“Don’t settle for where you’re at and always push to be more,” he said.