A COMPETITOR AT HEART: For Memorial's Gibson, Failure Is Not An Option
THOUGH SHE’S ONLY IN HER SECOND YEAR COMPETING IN TRACK AND FIELD, MEMORIAL SENIOR JADA GIBSON IS CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO SET HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR HERSELF.
So, this year, it’s State or bust for the Mustangs’ sprinter and jumper.
“I’ve always liked running and jumping,” said Gibson, whose first love was volleyball. “Everyone noticed how fast and how high I could jump. So, I gave it a shot. I learned that even when I’m sore and not in the mood to train, I still have to.I know I’m one of the top people now, since others have graduated, so I train during the weekends with my AAU coach. I know I’m going to make it.
“I know I’m going to be top three (at Regionals) and get to State. That’s what’s pushing me.”
Gibson was four inches short of going to State last year in the triple jump. Still, in her first season sprinting and jumping, she made it to Regionals.
This season, her encore on the track and in the jumping pit has been something to see.
Gibson’s top marks this year are 37-feet, 5-inches in the triple jump (a number that earned a berth to State last year), 17-feet, 8.25-inches in the long jump (this is her first year in the event) and 12.04 seconds in the 100-meter dash, just shy of the school record of 11.80 seconds. All marks are personal bests.
Gibson has been such a revelation in track and field that volleyball—where she was a first-team, all-district middle blocker for the Mustangs this season—is no longer her ticket to the next level.
“Everyone, even me, thought volleyball was going to be the way,” she said. “I’ve been playing it since fourth grade. But track came along, and colleges were impressed with how well I was doing my first year. I decided to try it. I was going to go where the money is.”
Gibson verbally committed prior to the school year to compete in track and field at Abilene Christian University. She sent her practice film to coaches last year. They liked it. She went on a summer visit and loved it.
“I’m very excited,” said Gibson, who plans to study accounting. “I know the college level will be very different from high school and I can’t wait for that to happen. The team was very welcoming, too, so I can’t wait to get to know them even more.”
Gibson is a competitor at heart, so you can imagine how much last year’s Regionals stung. This year, she is better than ever. Not just in her physical ability and skill, but more so mentally.
“Mentality has to be very strong,” she said. “Track is an individual sport, and if you have a weak mentality … then you basically can’t survive any sport. That really helped me for track and got me prepared. I almost made it to State last year. I was so close. I was bummed. This year, I’m going to State. There’s no other option.”
Gibson is competitive anywhere and everywhere. It’s in her blood to be No. 1.
“Even when it comes to outfits, I have to look better than you,” she said, laughing. “Or, if I’m not driving, I have to be shotgun. It’s always something. I always want to win. I always have to be the best.”