Runner Goulds adds to family legacy at Milligan

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   The end of one family legacy, the continuation of another.
   Kortney Goulds made it official Wednesday, signing a cross country scholarship with Milligan College, thus closing her athletic career at Happy Valley High School.
   "It's an exciting step for me," said Goulds. "I live in Okalona and I've grown up around Milligan my whole life. It's a lot like Happy Valley, a close-knit community. I wanted to stay at a small school.
   "I thank God, my family and all my coaches helping me strive for excellence and to get this far."
   Goulds, a star in softball and basketball as well as cross country, added to a rich family tradition at Happy Valley.
   Her grandfather is legendary boys' basketball coach Charlie Bayless, dad Greg Goulds is a former basketball coach at the middle school, and mother Karen has been a lifelong Warrior supporter along with Kortney's aunts and grandmother. Cousin Ross Garland is considered among the greatest athletes to ever don the Maroon and White.
   Now she heads to Milligan College, where her father, the former Science Hill girls basketball coach, also attended, and more recently, her older brother Gabe starred on the Buffalo basketball team.
   "I can't wait to have a chance to be a champion at Milligan," said Goulds. "Their program is so awesome. I feel like I can fit with their team. I'm excited to go to school with Alicia Dick (a HV teammate who also is heading to Milligan on an athletic scholarship). She's my next-door neighbor and we've been friends since kindergarten."
   Her bloodlines may be of athletic royalty, but they feed the heart befitting the Warrior nickname. According to prep coach Scotty Verran, the race he most remembers is Kortney battling through severe dehydration to finish the state cross-country meet.
   "Her strong will and determination are huge assets for her," said Verran. "She has a big heart. She gives you everything she's got everytime she goes out there. An athlete has to want it and she is one of those who wants to win.
   "I'm extremely proud of all that Kortney and the team as a whole has accomplished."
   Kortney's determination caught the eye of Milligan head coach Chris Layne, who has a reputation for spotting athletic talent. Next week, five of his track team members will head off to the NAIA National Event at the University of Louisville.
   "I saw Kortney run on a couple of occasions and even went to a couple of her basketball games," said Layne. "She's an athletic, aggressive young lady that doesn't take no for an answer.
   "You can build a National Title program off athletes like Kortney. You can train folks aerobically, you can train them anaerobically and do all the right things in training. She has that innate ability to get after it. That is what you can't teach, the thing coaches are always looking for."
   With Goulds, Layne gets the best of both worlds, a talented athlete who's from the local community.
   "It was good to sign someone with such a strong attachment to Milligan College," said Layne. "There's a strong tradition here and a strong athletic tradition in the Goulds family. We know we're getting somebody that wants to be at Milligan and someone who will make a big contribution athletically."
   In 2001 and 2002, Goulds was named All-State along with teammate Katie Williams for her individual efforts in cross country after placing 10th and 8th in the state meets. In 2003, she helped the Lady Warrior team finish a school-record second in the state.
   "Our team really came together," said Goulds. "Happy Valley has been such a big part of my life since my grandfather has always been here. I will never forget all my cross country, basketball and softball coaches and teammates, what they have meant to me.
   "Everytime I put my uniform on, I felt the tradition of excellence and the pride. I wanted to do the best for my school."
   While Goulds uses the term close-knit to describe the Happy Valley community, the tightest bond is that of her family, both in and away from the athletic arena.
   "Every Sunday we go to Coach Bayless' house and eat Sunday dinner," said Goulds. "We have always had a good time having family and friends come together and fellowship."
   The focus of Goulds signing with Milligan centered around her impressive athletic skill, which helped her finish third in a high profile meet at Daniel Boone High School. When it came to choosing where to spend the next four years, that was only a part of the overall equation.
   "I really looked into a school where I could make a lot of friends and I looked into their academic program too," said Goulds. "People look highly upon a Milligan degree. They have a great educational program.
   "It's a very challenging school. First and foremost, I wanted to earn a good degree to become a teacher."