LIVINGSTON — As all athletes know, winning doesn’t just come easy. In Shane Gibson’s four years wrestling at Livingston, he might know the truth in this more than anyone.
“Freshman year, I didn’t even make it through divisionals,” Gibson said. “My sophomore year, (it) was just a surprise to me how well I did, because I ended up getting second at state.”
“Then junior year, junior year was a roller coaster,” he added. “My year didn’t finish off the way I wanted to, ended up getting sixth at state, so that just really motivated me for this year, and it’s going pretty well.”
That’s an understatement. He is currently 34-1 in the 205-pound weight class.
“Watching (Gibson) from last year to this year, I’ve seen a big jump,” head coach Ben Hahn said. “He is stronger, faster, scoring from a lot of different positions, which is making him … really tough to beat, actually. We’re really excited about that.”
And like most sports, success can be credited to both mental and physical strength.
“Being mentally tough and ready and prepared is, I’d say, at least half the battle,” Gibson said. “If you get better technique, and if you work harder and get better at your craft, it will pay off.”
Not to mention hard work.
“I’m not the most gifted athlete there is,” Gibson admitted. “But I’d say hard work has gotten me further than being a natural at wrestling.”
His coach agreed.
“I think he loves wrestling. He likes to get out there, and it takes a certain kind of person to come to practice every day and work hard, and you can tell he’s having fun with it, especially this year, and he’s just really coming into his own,” Hahn said.
Gibson isn’t entirely sure where wrestling will take him in the future, but looking back he’s realized it’s provided a few gifts.
“I think the sport of wrestling has just taught me how to work hard, have some confidence in myself,” he said. “And wrestling overall provides challenges all the time. I’d say I’ve just kept on getting through those challenges and they’re paying off.”