Amare Gough takes two: Buckingham sophomore wins state titles

Published 1:13 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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Buckingham County High sophomore Amare Gough has only scratched the surface of his potential, yet is picking up some hardware on his multi-sport journey.

Recently, Gough won a pair of state titles in track for the 55-meter and long jump events.  

There was no lacking for supreme confidence for the 55-meter, which showed with his winning time of 6.52.

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“It feels good and representing the school is great.  Really, I just had the mindset that I’m going to win this,” Gough stated.  “When I looked up, I had the fastest time out of everybody in that event.  I just kept that mindset and pushed through it the whole race.  I thought it would go that way, especially when I ran what I ran the first time and made it to the Finals.  I knew I was going to win.”

Gough was not as confident when it came to the long jump and actually felt better about his chances in the triple jump, where he finished second.

“At first, I wasn’t even doing long jump and was just doing triple jump.  I got into long jump just to get to points for the team and had never practiced it until I went to regionals.  Then, I qualified for state’s and regionals.  I really didn’t even learn how to do it previously and basically got coached up at regionals,” remarked Gough, who received instruction from Buckingham High’s track coach, Damon Talley. 

“I honestly thought I was going to get first place in triple jump since I had practiced more with that.   After I saw I came in second place, I forgot all about it and went to the next event.  Coach Talley was coaching me up from the side for long jump.  I just took the coaching and made the adjustment.”

A bright future for Amare Gough

Talley sees a bright future in the three-sport athlete Gough, who also spent time playing basketball in the winter after shining on the gridiron for the Knights during the fall.

“The main thing is he has talent that he hasn’t really tapped into yet.  I worked with him outdoor once last year, introduced the triple jump to him and about three meets later, he ended up placing third in state’s,” Talley revealed.

“We were able to get him into the Adidas Nationals earlier (in March) and it gave him a chance to see what else is out there beyond the competition level here.  He had a pretty good showing there.”

Gough participated in the Championship division in the 55-meter and triple-jump for the Adidas Nationals held at the Virginia Beach Sports Center.  The top six of the event get All-American status.  He finished one spot from making it to the semifinals, where the Top 24 competitors advance out of roughly 70 participants.

On the second day, Gough competed in the long-jump in the National Elite Division.  He finished seventh out of approximately 107 participants and one place away from receiving a medal.

“In that event, we put some parameters in place where we discussed our communication, told him exactly what to look for and had some hand signals,” said Talley, adding that there are different elements for him to focus on in each sport.

“The main thing is to get him to continue to grow in each of the sports he plays.  With football, understanding the weight room is important.  In basketball, the fundamentals and little things can help you out in your game.  With track, it’s all the mental aspect.  He’s dealt with some injuries, so we’re telling him that every day you compete – whether it’s football, basketball or track – you’re not going to feel 100% or perfect every day.  Mentally, just realize your talent level and continue to do things to get better.”

For someone that only competed in outdoor events as a freshman and none indoor, Gough took some major strides during his sophomore year.  He’s staying hungry and looking forward to taking more steps over the next couple years.

“I want to get bigger, gain more knowledge, take the coaching and be an even better athlete,” said Gough, already with an idea of what he plans to do beyond this level. “In college, I really want to play football and run track.  That’s my goal.”

But before then, there’s more work to do.

“I want to go on and continue to get more state championships,” Gough added. “I just know next year I’m coming for more.”