Recently, we announced that 2014 4A Cross Country Finals champion and 2x NXN qualifier Rafaella Gibbons of Winter Park was headed to NC State to continue her academic and athletic career. We caught up with Gibbons to learn more about her college decision.
What was the recruiting process like for you?
It was overwhelming at times because I had to try to schedule 4 visits in around 5 or 6 weeks. Since you cannot schedule an official visit before school starts and teams are away competing at Conference, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship meets in late October and first two weeks of November, you really only have 6 weeks or so to schedule 4 or 5 official visits.
Where all did you visit/consider?
I made unofficial visits to Duke and NC State and official visits to Mizzou, NAU, Furman, and NC State.
You visited NC State right after Great American. What was your visit like?
It was a really fun visit and I was able to spend a lot of time with the girls. We met with the coaches and had a lot of questions answered. We had tours of athletic and academic facilities. On the first night we had Canadian Thanksgiving with the girls and on the second day I got to watch their final workout before the Wisconsin meet.
What were the key factors that sold you on the Wolfpack?
Their reputation of great coaching and it being not too far away from home sold me at first . When I got there I saw how close the girls were and how they had a good relationship with the coach. I was looking for a school that I could see myself going to and NC State had the homey feeling that sold me to commit. Everyone on the team made me feel very welcome and made sure to make the visit fun.
It's a huge relief to not have to worry about taking visits anymore and to just focus on training.
What are your goals over the next three weeks?
I'd like to continue training hard and work on dropping my times. For our team, I would like to see all our girls healthy and running their best in the post season and hopefully win the State Championship as a team.
What do you want people to remember/say about Rafaella Gibbons?
I hope that I will be remembered as a good competitor who never gave up and really enjoyed running in high school.
What are you looking forward to the most about competing at NC State?
At the college level, I am looking forward to running with really fast girls. I hope to contribute to NC State's success in the ACC and at NCAAs in cross country. On the track I am looking forward to racing some new events that I have not raced in high school.
By The Numbers (Personal Records)
- 800m - 2:16.96
- 1500m - 4:46.93
- 1600m - 4:55.85
- 1 Mile - 5:02.94
- 3000m (xc) - 10:35.00
- 3000m - 10:10.50
- 3200m - 10:27.00
- 5K (xc) - 17:30.80