Gibson’s 22nd highlights local individuals

HEBRON – He didn’t appear pleased when he crossed the finish line. Self-inflicted slaps to the head tend to give that impression.

But that doesn’t make it a correct impression.

Columbian’s Brandon Gibson wrapped up his high school career Saturday by running 22nd and earning Division I All-Ohio honors, highlighting the efforts of local runners who only competed as individuals at the state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, it just wasn’t my day. Still placed All-Ohio, that’s what I was shooting for,” said Gibson, who crossed the line in 16:00.74. “It’s not the exact spot or the time I really wanted, but senior year, made it to state, All-Ohio – couldn’t ask for too much more than that.

“It’s one of the best feelings it possibly can be. Just making it to state is an absolute amazing accomplishment. Second year coming, couldn’t be happier with anything,” he said.

The place and time bettered last year’s efforts of 49th in 16:07.65.

Gibson was joined in the Division I race by classmate Tyler Lewis, who took 135th in 17:41.28.

Lewis found his first trip to state a bit harrowing, as a fast pace and a few narrow corridors made for some congestion.

“Too tough,” he said.

“A lot of shoulders,” Lewis said.

Two other area runners competed in Division III races – Carey freshman Trevor Cook and Calvert senior Olivia Smith.

Cook claimed 34th in the boys race in 16:56.58, calling his debut at the state meet a memorable end to a season in which so much was expected of him.

“I’m just excited having the experience. It felt great,” he said. “I guess I just wanted to push myself a little more to be in cross country, and [I] made a great jump.

“I think the race course was fast. Having all the great kids that ran in this, all the great kids that run strong in the state of Ohio, and I think that’s what made it fast. The course was pretty flat overall,” he said. “It was just a great experience for anyone to be on the this course and run against the best in the state.”

It was a return to the girls state meet for Smith, though it took a while. She ran there as a sophomore, but a stress fracture played a role in her missing out in 2012.

She capped her final race by finishing 69th 20.26.05.

“It was kind of bittersweet. A lot of fun, though. It was good, a lot of fun,” she said.

“Everyone’s so fast, you’re trying to have the best day to get a good time and a good place and everything,” Smith said. “With it being my last race, I just wanted to go out there and do my best.”