Last year, Patrick Gibson started taking running very seriously, committing himself to a running lifestyle to maximize his success on the course.
The result was a Class 2A boys' cross country state title.
This year, he wanted to have a little more fun.
"I realized that this is still a high school sport, and the most important thing is to have fun," Gibson said in a phone interview. "I really wanted to focus on enjoying myself."
Of course, the best way to enjoy yourself is to win, and that's exactly what Gibson did again on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, claiming his second consecutive state title with a time of 15 minutes, 13.6 seconds.
For the second straight year he topped Aberdeen's Poli Baltazar, this time by only three seconds, even though Gibson's time was more than 15 seconds faster than his winning time as a junior.
"It was eerily similar to last year," Gibson said. "The only thing that was different is Poli and I didn't have Marcus Dickson (who graduated from White River after last year) as a factor."
Like last year, Gibson needed every ounce of determination he could muster to work past Baltazar and then hold him off for the title.
"I knew that Poli wanted to take the race out fast," Gibson said. "I figured that would be fine. I'd just stick with him and I wouldn't have to do all the work, which was nice. There were about three guys with us, but at about 2 miles, they fell apart, and I just wanted to stay with Poli and see if I couldn't get him in that last 200 or 300 meters or so."
Gibson said it was at about the 300-meters-to-go mark that he caught and passed Baltazar and pulled away for the win.
"It was almost exactly at the same point I did it last year," Gibson said.
But this time, it was perhaps a little more fun, because Gibson got to share the podium with his teammates, who placed third behind Sehome and Bellingham.
"It's always better to win," Gibson said. "But win or lose, my whole goal today was just to have fun and enjoy the race and the experience. I was just happy to be there."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
WHATCOM COUNTY BOYS' INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS
Runner School Year Class
Chris Vilani Mount Baker 1975 1A
Chris Vilani Mount Baker 1976 1A
Brett Allsop Sehome 1987 2A
Alex Grant Sehome 2002 2A
Jake Riley Sehome 2006 2A
Scott Carlyle Sehome 2009 2A
Scott Carlyle Sehome 2010 2A
Patrick Gibson Squalicum 2011 2A
Dillon Quintana Mount Baker 2012 1A
Patrick Gibson Squalicum 2012 2A
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.