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Gibson, 11, takes third in College Classic

Mary Kathryn Gibson set a world record a month ago. Now, the 11-year-old Nederland girl is just doing the impossible.

Mary Kathryn ran against college women Thursday in a 3,000-meter indoor race at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, and finished third. The meet was the Dunamis Indoor College Classic, the first major indoor track meet in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since Carl Lewis headlined a pre-Olympic meet at the now-demolished Reunion Arena in 1984, according to a tweet by a KTVT-TV reporter. Her accomplishment was featured during the CBS affiliate’s newscast Thursday night and on tx.milesplit.com.

“I finally got to race with bigger kids, and it felt great,” she told The News via phone Thursday.

And the Renaissance Academy homeschooler wasn’t nervous about taking on the older ladies, either.

“No, I’m really never nervous,” she said.

Michelle Reives of Midwestern State was the only sub-11 minute finisher in the race (10:55.06). Natalie Jackson of Abilene Christian came in second at 11:03.34, followed by Mary Kathryn at 11:10.53. She ran the mile race in 5:38 earlier Thursday, according to MileSplit.

Women from major colleges are scheduled to race the 3K Friday in the Classic.

Mary Kathryn’s father Richard Gibson said he was just finding a competitive event for her in preparation for Saturday’s qualifier for the USA Track & Field Hershey National Indoor Meet. Richard is confident his daughter will dominate her field in the qualifier, which will be held at the University of Houston.

“We had looked into the Governor’s Games at LSU, but they dropped the 3,000-meter race,” Richard Gibson said.

Because the Dunamis Indoor College Classic is a new event, he said, the organizers opened the field to unattached and younger racers to increase its popularity.

“They’re not beholden to NCAA or UIL rules, so anybody can sign unattached,” Richard Gibson said. “I emailed the guy who was putting on the meet Mary Kathyrn’s times, and he said, ‘Bring her here.’”

Mary Kathryn set a world record for 10-year-olds in the 2-mile, or 3,200-meter, run Jan. 5 at the Mile Mania Grand Prix on Staten Island, N.Y. Her time there was 11:49.11. She turned 11 two days later.

She also won the 10-under, 3-kilometer race in the Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championship in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 26.

But one might think finishing high against college women is a feat in itself for an 11-year-old.

“It feels the same way whenever I broke the world record in New York,” Mary Kathryn said. “ I was shocked, but my dad was shocked more than me.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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