Gipson, boys cross country ready to make some noise at state

Candice Buford, Staff Writer

Ranked third in 5A, the boys cross country team has taken off this year. Gabe Gipson is leading the pack.

“I think I have done very well this season, putting up some very impressive placements and times,” Gibson said. “I work very hard at practice every day, and the coaches push me to be better.”

The Mustangs started their season at the Hickory Flat Invitational Sept. 7. Gipson finished fourth with a time of 18:51. At the Warrior Classic Sept. 14, he won a T-shirt as a Top 5 finisher and helped lead the boys to their first team trophy in school history, taking first place in the 4-6A division. Then on Sept. 21, he PR’d with a 17:27 at the Saltillo Invitational, leading the team to finish 12th overall. On Sept. 28, Gipson helped win another 4-6A trophy, this time at the North Mississippi Challenge. After the Oct. 12 Pontotoc XC Invitational, MileSplitMS ranked Gipson 25th in the state among high school boys with a 5K time of 17:01.03.

“The team has made strides from last year, mostly due to coaches and a dedicated group of kids,” said Gipson, who most recently placed third in the DeSoto County Championships Oct. 19 and was named to the All-County Team. In sixth place, sophomore Jalyn Figueroa was also named to the All-County team.

“We have been putting in so much work to become who we are today,” senior Travarus Milam said about the team’s success. “Gabe has been doing really good because he has been putting in more work.”

Gipson’s work ethic is definitely a factor, head coach Luke Chapman said.

“He trains five to six days a week,” Chapman said. “He works hard. He is very coachable and responds to constructive criticism really well.”

Overall, there’s a good culture around the team this year, Chapman said.

“Athletes are really buying into Coach Mac’s and my vision of the team, and it’s paying off,” Chapman said, referring to assistant coach Andy McElyea. “Currently we are ranked third in 5A and looking to make some noise at the state championship Nov. 4 in Jackson.”