Trinity Christian's Sam Gibson makes school history by signing with Central Arkansas
Trinity Christian School senior Samantha “Sam” Gibson credits hard work for helping her earn a track scholarship at the University of Central Arkansas.
Gibson, who signed a letter of intent last week, became the first female athlete from Trinity Christian, a small, private school in Forest Hills, to sign with a Division I program.
“I'm not blessed with a lot of talent,” she said.
Trinity Christian coach Dave Jones agrees with that assessment.
“Over half of the kids at the state meet are faster, but few work harder,” Jones said.
Gibson finished second at the WPIAL Class AA championship (58.85 seconds) and fifth in the state (58.15) in the 400-meter dash a year ago.
In the 200-meter dash, she was seventh in the WPIAL with a mark of 26.73.
According to Trinity Christian headmaster Dale McLane, she holds seven school records.
“She's very tenacious,” McLane said.
Gibson is expected to compete outdoors in the heptathlon and indoors in the pentathlon for Central Arkansas, a member of the Southland Conference located in Conway, about 30 miles from Little Rock.
In the heptathlon, participants compete in seven track and field events — 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run.
The pentathlon consists of five events (200 and 1,500-meter runs, long jump, discus and javelin throw).
A regional champion, Gibson finished eighth in the heptathlon in the young women division at the 2012 USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Morgan State University in Baltimore in July.
She began entering multi-event competitions after watching instructional videos on the Internet.
“She's very motivated and easily coached,” Central Arkansas assistant coach Ken Ciolek said.
Gibson, who will be 18 on Monday, chose Central Arkansas over the University at Buffalo.
“Buffalo was my first choice, until I visited Central Arkansas,” she said. “I loved the warm weather.”
Gibson plans to study exercise science, with the goal of becoming a strength and conditioning coach.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.