Tim Gibson’s thoughts on losing are concise.
“I don’t like that,” the East Meadow senior said.
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Three straight losses in the 55 meters at the Nassau Class A County Championships were enough to formulate that opinion. Perhaps the latest one, coming on Feb. 2 to Carey’s Gregory Matzelle, was the most painful, with Gibson falling by a literal hair, 0.0028 of a second to be exact.
So it was with a dangerous mix of frustration and motivation that Gibson won the 55 meters at the Nassau state qualifier Feb. 9 at St. Anthony’s High School, clocking a 6.53. Matzelle was second in 6.55.
The two, along with third place finisher Adam Patel of Hicksville (6.62), qualified for states, March 5 at Cornell University.
“I got a good first step,” Gibson said of the victory. “My second step became longer and my transitions became faster.”
The photo-finish battle with Matzelle at the county championships last week taught Gibson a lesson about finishing even stronger than usual. Although it was a hard pill to swallow when he found out he had lost the county title, it did better prepare him for the possibility of a close finish at the state qualifier.
“Last week, they counted [Matzelle’s] chest, so today I made sure that I used my chest at the finish line,” Gibson said after the win.
Now, the focus shifts. Gibson said that he will run at the Long Island Elite Meet on Feb. 27 before lacing up for his final indoor state meet. Last year, he ran a 6.66 in the state championship semifinals, missing a finals berth by 0.05 seconds.
“It wasn’t my best. I know I can do better,” Gibson recalled.
A solid performance at the state championships would cap what has been a successful season for Gibson. He won the Nassau Conference I title, running a 6.69 on Jan 13. He also won at January’s Rhody Classic in Rhode Island in 6.63 seconds. He ran a 6.52 to win at the Bishop Loughlin Games and a 6.60 to win at the Nassau Coaches Invitational, both held in Staten Island in Dec.
“My training has gotten a lot better over the last couple of years,” Gibson said. “I do more speed training and work on the little stuff, like my drive phase, my start, and my finish.”
Gibson hopes that all that success will result in a top three finish at the state championships.
“I think I’m going to peak at the right moment at States,” he said. “I want to run 6.4 and I think I can do it.”