Keeping his focus

Shiprock’s Gibson repeats in 110 hurdles

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Shiprock Chieftain Adrian Gibson leaps across the finish line to claim the Class 4A boys 110-meters hurdle state title with a time of 15.50 at the University of New Mexico stadium in Albuquerque May 13.


Adrian Gibson didn’t need to turn his head to know he was a winner.

As the Shiprock High School senior approached the final hurdle and the finish line of the 110-meter championship in the 2017 NMAA State Track & Field Championships, he had a feeling he was taking home his second gold medal.

“I just kept my focus, kept my rhythm, kept going, kept focusing on the end, and as soon as I got to the end of that last hurdle, I just sprinted it out and I kind of knew I had it because of my peripheral vision,” he said. “I didn’t really show my emotions as much, but I was really freaking out on the inside.”

Gibson finished in 15.50, only 2.1 seconds ahead of his top opponent from Taos, Dalton Donaldson.

The day before championship Saturday, Gibson finished second to Donaldson in the prelims, giving him the second seed for the championship.

He said he had a mix of feelings going into the race.

“I felt pretty confident and I was just really trying to focus on my form and to stick to the fundamentals of everything,” he said. “I wasn’t relaxed as much because I still felt the anxiety, I was still scared.”

Missing out on the 300-meter hurdles didn’t help Gibson’s nerves. He qualified for both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles but hooked some hurdles in the prelims of the 300, which disqualified him.

He said he tried to put his disqualification out of his mind and instead focused on everything that led him to the moment that would possibly make him a two-time state champion.

“Coming in to this race I just felt more confident than I did last year,” he said. “This year I put in a lot of hard work. I remember every single practice, I listened to everybody, I did so much more and it all paid off in the end. I’m just so happy.”

Gibson’s hurdles coach, Nik Paniagua, said Gibson put everything on the table in his final race despite missing out on the 300.

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Categories: Track & Field

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.