Gibbs to show his ‘best’ at state

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 4, 2012

Florala’s Matthew Gibbs competes at sectionals in late April. |Courtesy photo

Matthew Gibbs caresses the 12-pound metallic ball against his jaw line, and a few moves inside the 6-foot wide circle later, he lets her fly.

That’s what the Florala junior will be doing tomorrow in the shot put event of the Class 1A state track and field meet at Memorial Stadium in Selma.

Gibbs competed in the shot put in eighth grade, took a year off as a freshman to concentrate on football and then took it right back up again during his sophomore year.

He said he’s “excited” about getting out there and showing what he’s got on the field.

“It’s going to be a great chance to show how our athletic department has been working out in the weight room,” Gibbs said. “I expect to show out there and do pretty well.”

Gibbs just got done competing in the state powerlifting championship, which the Wildcats won first place.

He said the school’s weight program has drastically improved his shot put distance. Each throw is measured in feet.

“I was throwing a 42 and last year I was only throwing a 36,” he said. “The weights have made me stronger, and that’s just helped me get further on in this event.”

A target distance for tomorrow is 48 feet, Gibbs said.

“That’s a little bit further than I can throw — I’m just trying to obtain it right now,” he said.

At the sectional tournament in Tuscaloosa, Gibbs qualified for the state meet by throwing the ball 44 feet.

And whenever he talks to people who are interested in trying out for the shot put, Gibbs said he tells them three things.

“Shot put is 50 percent technique, 20 percent mental and 30 percent physical,” he said.

The technique portion is instrumental during tomorrow’s meet, he said.

“You have to stay in the circle, or you’ll scratch, and that means you’re disqualified for the throw,” he said.

Additionally, Florala’s Jonathan Burleson (javelin); John Bess (javelin); Erik Vega (javelin); Paige Irwin (800-meter run, javelin); and Mariah Thompson (javelin) will also compete at the state meet this weekend.

Opp’s Derek Savage (discus); and Myeke´ Boyd (100-meter run) will also compete in the Class 3A competition.

But for Gibbs, he said he really wants to bring home the “gold.”

“I’m excited to be able to show off my talents again at state, and hopefully not bring home a bronze, but bring home a gold medal for my school,” he said.

Gibbs is the son of Debra Gibbs of Florala.