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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Silver Taps: Chance McKay Gibson

Photo by Provided

Sports management freshman Chance McKay Gibson will be honored at the Feb. 1 Silver Taps ceremony in Academic Plaza. 

A loving son, brother, boyfriend, friend, athlete, teammate and student — Chance McKay Gibson did it all.
Born Jan. 24, 2003, in Houston to Spencer, Class of 2001, and Jana Gibson, Chance lived to ensure he made his mark on the world.
As a three-year letter winner in cross country and track and field at The Woodlands High School, Chance achieved his dream of becoming a cross country and track athlete at Texas A&M. While at A&M, Chance competed in the Aggie Opener 5K and the Texas A&M Invitational 8K during his freshman year.
His father Spencer said his favorite memories of Chance were watching him compete and run. He said Chance was a team player, even in a seemingly individualistic sport like track.
“I loved just seeing how it was very important to him that the team succeeded,” Gibson said. “Not just him — but the team. Even in a sport like track where it can be individual, he didn’t care about that. He just wanted the team to win.”
On the day of Chance’s passing, A&M track and field head coach Pat Henry made a statement on behalf of the team.
“Chance was a great young person with a bright future,” Henry said. “He will be missed by everyone that came in contact with him. It is a sad day for Texas A&M, and our hearts are broken for his family and friends.”
As shown through his athletic achievements, Spencer said Chance enjoyed working hard and was dedicated to everything he did. Something he said he’ll always remember about Chance is watching him mature from just a kid into someone who decided to do something with his life that was important to him — running.
“His dream was to be a student-athlete at A&M, and about his sophomore year [of high school,] it just clicked for him that that’s what was going to happen,” Spencer said. “And I saw a lot of things change and how he went about doing things. He was an example to me that when you really focus on something, you can do it and have your dreams come true. I hope my other kids also saw that in their brother and saw what can happen when you really dedicate yourself.”
Spencer said Chance was really lucky to be a part of the A&M community and the track and field team — everyone welcomed him with open arms.
“He felt at home and part of that program so quickly,” Spencer said. “He was only there a semester and made some really, really good friends. I just remember talking with him one time when he came home on a Friday. I said, ‘Chance, I hope you understand how lucky you are to have the things that you do as part of being a student-athlete. You’re part of a very small number of students at A&M. You’re so lucky.’ He knew that.”
Sarah Thomas, Chance’s girlfriend, said he was one-of-a-kind.
“There’s no one quite like him,” Thomas said. “He would always put others before him. And he always made sure everyone around him was OK before he focused on himself. He was a really, really hard worker. He knew what he wanted in life and what he wanted to accomplish, and he set out for it. He didn’t need help from anyone because he just wanted to do it all on his own.”
Chance was very selfless when it came to the people he loved and the people around him, Thomas said. She and Chance always had fun, no matter what they were doing, and something she said she’ll always remember was watching the A&M-Alabama football game with Chance in Kyle Field last October. She said she loved being able to see Chance and the world he formed at A&M and all the friends he met.
“There are just certain little things about him,” Thomas said. “He loved having a Coke ICEE. He loved playing video games. And he loved cars. One of his favorite things in his life was his Dodge Challenger. He would take it to get cleaned with his dad and go through the carwash; it was his favorite thing to do. He would always go fishing with his friends. I think he mostly liked it because he would just tell me how he was better than all his friends at fishing, and it made him really happy to help them out.”
Biology sophomore Brock Bleicher, a childhood friend and high school teammate of Chance, said his favorite thing about Chance was his joy.
“Every time I saw him he had a smile on his face,” Bleicher said. “He just lit up the room — and he wasn’t the most outgoing person to everybody. But if you were one of his good friends, he was always there for you. He was always there to talk and was such a loyal person. The energy he brought in the cross country locker room was just amazing.”
Bleicher said his favorite memories with Chance include their trip to Portland, Ore., for a cross country meet in high school, where Brock said he loved spending time with him, and their trips to A&M baseball games.
“For one, he had a joy for life. He just loved every minute of it,” Bleicher said. “Everybody he just talked to and loved — he just loved them so much. When he started something he’d do it 110%. Whether it was running or being a friend, he would always do it to his full capability. He just never went halfway, he went the full distance.”
Chance had a heart of gold and loved deeply, Thomas said.
“I know he’s looking down on everyone,” Thomas said. “He loved, and wants everyone to have the best life that they can and to live for him and make him proud. I know that he wouldn’t want us to be sad, so I try to keep that in my head. He didn’t like when people worried about him, so I know he would just want all of us to do our best in life.”
Thomas had a final message for the team which welcomed Chance with such open arms.
“To the A&M track and field team:
Thank you for making my son feel so welcome in being a part of the team. [You all have] been great. Even now, after Chance, my phone has been blowing up with texts and social media hits just from the teammates, and I’ll never forget that, I know that. I want you all to know how much we appreciate everything. To Chance, and to us now that we’re in this spot.”

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