Baldwin Wallace Track and Field Runner and Leader Ian Gibson is the February
STARR Student-Athlete of the Month
BEREA, OHIO -- Baldwin Wallace University senior Ian Gibson (Painesville/ Harvey High School) has been making great strides both on and off the track since he came to Berea four years ago. He is being honored this month as the STARR Student-Athlete for the Month of February. For Gibson, it is an honor that is well-deserved.
The STARR of the Month program stands for Student-athletes Taking Active Responsible Roles. The program was developed in conjunction with two NCAA-related programs: CHAMPS/Life Skills and the STARR pilot of which BW is one of eight D-III grant recipients. The STARR of the Month Program recognizes student-athletes who are showing a great balance between athletic, academic, personal, service, leadership and other involvement. We, in CHAMPS/Life Skills, strive to focus on positive role-modeling among our student-athletes. Recipients must carry a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA, be in at least their second year of competition at BW and make positive contributions to the Campus and surrounding communities. We know our student-athletes excel in many areas and it is time to show the Campus and surrounding community how proud we are.
Gibson is a multi-faceted young man who is involved in the Yellow Jacket track program and also is well known on campus and very involved.
In track, Gibson competes primarily in the sprinting and jumping events and is looking ahead to a successful final season of track as well as making plans for his future after graduation.
As a freshman in 2002, Gibson started out playing two sports, football and track. As a football player, he spent time as a wide receiver on the junior varisty team. In track, he posted a career-best time of 6.6 seconds in the 55-meter dash and season-best times of 38.71 seconds in the 300-meter dash and 56.49 seconds in the 400-meter dash events during the indoor track season. That Spring, during the outdoor track season, Gibson posted impressive times in the 100-meter dash (11.47), 200-meter dash (22.99) and in the 400-meter dash (54.43). The following year, he decided to devote all of his time to track and began competing in the long jump in addition to his sprinting and relay events. In his first season of competing in the long jump, Gibson jumped 20í11.50" during the indoor season and 20í11.50" during the outdoor season. He also ran in the 4 x 100-meter relay which finished third in the 2003 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships with a time of 43.43 seconds earning him and his teammates All-OAC honors. In addition to being named All-OAC, at the end of the 2003-2004 track season, he was awarded the Willie Holcombe Most Outstanding Sprinter and Jumper Award.
Throughout his indoor and outdoor track careers, Gibson has made improvements in his sprint times and jump distances since his freshman season and those adjustments are beginning to pay off.
"The biggest improvements that I have made since I was freshman would be running more relaxed in the sprints along with improving my jumping technique in the long jump," said Gibson. "Running more relaxed has dropped my times in a longer race such as a 400 and my long jump technique, which has improved each year, allowed me increase my personal best from 20í11.50" to 21í3.50".
Sprinting and relay coach Craig Braithwaite has also seen the improvements that Gibson has made since coming to BW.
"Ian has improved in all areas," said Braithwaite. "He has become a consistant performer in his individual events and is very steady in performing exhanges on the 4x100 relay."
"He is in the process of becoming an accomplished long jumper," added Braithwaite. "Ian has also become a valuable team leader."
Even though he and his coaches have seen him make improvements, Gibson still wants to do better heading into his senior track season at BW.
"I feel I still need to improve my starts, which is key in every race," added Gibson. "Having a good start is especially important in the shorter events such as the 55 or 100-meter dashes."
Gibson has had personal and team success since he began running track competitively in high school. While attending Painesville Harvey High School, he was a District Finalist and as a team, won three-straight regular-season and conference titles and had three consecutive undefeated seasons in dual meets. He has carried the success that he had in high school over to the collegiate level, but as with all great athletes, Gibson strives for more.
"I would like to jump 22 feet or better in the long jump, run the 400-meter dash in 49 seconds or less and go to nationals this season in the 4x100 relay," said Gibson. "I would also like to see the team win the OAC title. My high school team won three regular-season and conference championships and I have not won a conference title since I came to BW."
In 2004-2005, the menís track & field team may do just that. The Yellow Jackets return a number of seasoned veterans, including Gibson, along with a host of newcomers looking to make their mark and compete for an OAC Championship.
Off the track, Gibson is very involved in the campus community and has become a leader within the student body in addition to his leadership role on the track team.
While on campus, he is actively involved in the CHAMPS/Lifeskills and SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) programs. CHAMPS (Challenging Athletes' Minds for Personal Success)/Life Skills is an NCAA program consisting of 424 U.S. colleges and universities. BW is one of 76 Division III active members. The role of the program is to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the campus educational program and the student-athlete as an integral part of the student body. CHAMPS/Life Skills was created to support student development initiatives of its member institutions and to enhance the quality of the student-athlete experience within the university setting.
This past fall, Gibson served as a student intern and was responsible for handling public relations for a number of events held on and off campus. He also helped create weekly student-athlete bulletins, served as coach-athlete liason to the SAAC and filled the role of student voice for new ideas and needs for student-athletes. He also provided mentorship during academic advising sessions for first-year student-athletes.
"Ian displays excellent time management while excelling in academics, athletics, internships, campus jobs and the two businesses he runs," said Michelle Nicolpolis-Gallagher who is the director of the CHAMPS/Lifeskills program at BW. "He is way beyond his years in professionalism, responsibility and business-minded ventures."
In addition to his involvement with CHAMPS/Lifeskills, is also works in the BW Sports Information office inbetween classes and at night during sporting events. He has worked in Sports Information since his freshman year developing his writing skills through press releases, game stories and writing game notes before each menís and womenís basketball and football games. He has also fine tuned a number of other skills that has already and will benefit him later in life.
"Ian is an outstanding role model for young folks who want to work in sports information, start a business or want to be a leader," said Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple. "Ian is a very hard-working, caring, compassionate young man who has a great desire to succeed whether it is in the classroom, on the track, in the SID Office or in business. He also shows a great respect for others and leads by-example. I wish I had 20 more Ian Gibsonís."
For most individuals, devoting time towards a collegiate athletic program and being heavily involved in the campus community, not to mention being a full-time student, would be too much to handle. However, as with his attitude towards being a successful track and field competitor, Gibson wants more.
During the summer and fall, Gibson discovered his talent as an entrepreneur and started two businesses of his own. He, his roommate and another one of his best friends have started a commercial cleaning franchise called "Jan Pro Cleaning Systems." Gibson is also the owner of a network marketing business called "ACN" which he runs by himself.
"I decided to start my businesses after reading a series of books this summer," said Gibson. "I decided that after I graduate in May I did not want to spend 40 years or so working for someone else building his or her dream."
"I also plan to get into real estate and I will use the income generated from my businesses to do that," added Gibson. "Furthermore, I wanted to be financially free, not living from paycheck to paycheck as many people do."
Gibson did not create his two businesses just for personnal gain, he also created them to help benefit his community.
"Right now, our cleaning business is very small and we donít have any employees, we do all of the work," said Gibson. "But eventually when the business becomes larger, we plan on hiring employees. This way we can give back to the community by supplying some much needed jobs."
Gibson has had his share of success on the track and off the track. Over the past three years, he has become a model leader for those on campus through his involvement in numerous groups and organizations. He has also become a leader for future entrepreneurs who want to some day own a business or franchise of their own. Although Gibson realizes that he and his business partners are just starting out, he has already taken the steps that most people never get to. On the track in 2004-2005, Gibson will look to become a possible OAC individual champion and help his team win a conference title for the first time in his career.
Gibson and the Yellow Jacket track team will be back in action this Friday, February 4 when they compete at the annual Case Western Reserve Meet in the Veale Center in University Circle at 6:00 p.m. The next home Yellow Jacket meet is on Friday, Feb. 11 when BW hosts its annual Paul "Sparky" Adams Invitational Meet in the Recreation Center Fieldhouse and on the Harrison Dillard Track at 5:00 p.m.