FWB's Gibson lifts way to second straight state title

FWB

Fort Walton Beach senior Xavier Gibson won a 2A state title in the 139-pound weight class and Charlie Brenner finished fourth at heavyweight.

NICK TOMECEK / Daily News
Published: Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 19:26 PM.

Xavier Gibson’s state title defense was almost over before it even started.

And all because of a tenth of a pound.

The scene was the 139-pound weigh-in before Saturday’s 2A state weightlifting tournament in Kissimmee, and the scale read 139.1.

As sure as the sky is blue and the ocean wet, the Fort Walton Beach was a shoo-in to defend his 2A state title. But first he had to lose that .1 pound.

Knowing he’d be disqualified if he came in over twice more, the 5-foot-5 dual-sport athlete ran around, sweated a bit and, low and behold, the scale read 139.

Game over.

Gibson benched 315 pounds and then executed a clean and jerk of 270 pounds for a 585-pound total, 65 pounds more than his nearest foe and good enough to secure the senior’s second straight title and third consecutive state medal.

“I’m just trying to think of the word to describe the feeling,” said Gibson, before settling on “Happiness.”

“This shows that hard work really does pay off. That’s all I’ve done since my freshman year.”

Witnessing firsthand that hard work was FWB head coach J.C. Cotton, who has praised Gibson’s work ethic, leadership and attitude from Day 1.

“He spent a lot of hours in the weight room,” Cotton said. “No one, I mean no one does what X can do.”

But that hard work was almost all for naught. And Gibson knew the night before that the scale may present problems.

“I came down here kind of heavy and I was freaking out about it,” said Gibson, who noted the stress of being away from his normal routine caused the ever-so-slight jump. “I weighed 139.1 the night before, and I was trying to lose as much as possible. But there was just nothing to lose.”

He was happy to be proven wrong.

As for the feeling he got when the scale read the right number: “Just relief.”

And then he did what he’s done at every meet after finishing fourth at state as a sophomore: Win.

The banner day not only closed out a two-year undefeated stretch, it provided the perfect swan song for – according to Cotton – “The best Fort Walton Beach weightlifter ever.”

Even better than Derek Tryon, the last Viking to win back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003? Yes.

“Four-time state qualifier, three-time district champion, three-time state medalist and now a back-to-back state champion, he’s the best for sure,” Cotton said.

Told about Cotton’s high praise, the senior bound for Louisiana State University said he was “appreciative and thankful.”

As for his decorated résumé, Gibson said it’ll take awhile to soak in. But what will help bring the accolades to life is his second state championship ring, which he can’t wait to pair with the bling from last year.

“I haven’t worn last year’s because I wanted to wait to see if I could get another one,” he said.

Now he’s got two. And he can wear them with full confidence knowing they won’t tip the scale.



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