A three-member Southern Section panel Tuesday approved the hardship appeal of Westlake High cross-country runner Patricia Gibby, granting her immediate athletic eligibility.
Gibby, a sophomore who finished sixth in the 1992 Southern Section Division I championships for Thousand Oaks High, had been denied varsity eligibility because she failed to change residences upon transferring to Westlake late last month.
Two weeks ago, Stan Thomas, the Southern Section commissioner, denied her application for a hardship waiver by ruling that her transfer was for athletic reasons only. But the three-member panel of Walnut Principal Ken Gunn, St. Paul Principal Father Robert Gallagher and former Southern Section President Mo Chavez disagreed after hearing arguments presented by Gibby’s father, Bruce.
“I initially felt it was an athletic transfer,” said Thomas, who was present at the meeting at the section office in Cerritos. “But (Bruce Gibby) presented a letter from their doctor which indicated that (Patricia) had experienced a certain amount of emotional trauma at Thousand Oaks.”
Patricia Gibby, her father and Thousand Oaks Coach Jack Farrell have declined to give specific reasons for her transfer, but sources say that the parties disagreed about how Patricia should be trained at Thousand Oaks.
Gibby, who was hampered by injuries much of her freshman year at Thousand Oaks, was ecstatic about the decision.
“I’m glad it’s over, but I knew we were going to get it,” she said. “Other people were telling me not to get my hopes up, but I just had a good feeling about this all along.”