NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Sophomore Terrence Gibson was the first athlete from Worcester State to qualify for the Division III NCAA championships in 12 years and now he is going home as the first male athlete in school history to bring home a national crown.

Gibson blew away the competition Saturday, finishing the 60-meter hurdles in 8.04 seconds for a school and Al B. Carius Track facility record. His time was six seconds faster than second-place finishers Adam Scalesse (Coast Guard) and Marcus Smith (Wisconsin-Whitewater).

“It’s overwhelming, my first national championships and I couldn’t have wanted it to go any other way,” Gibson said. “I’m just so happy I want to cry. It’s so surreal, there are so many great athletes here and to have my name be one of the best in DIII this year is crazy.”

Before the meet, Gibson posted the fifth-fastest time in the country at the Open New England Championships with a time of 8.13 and now he is only the fifth athlete in program history to become an All-American.

“One thing I’ve learned with this kid as my athlete, is to never doubt him because he will win every race he enters,” Worcester associate head coach Matthew Swett said. “To have a kid like him come in and stay with the program is great. It’s really been an honor to have him on our team.

“This is my first trip [to the national championships] and this is my first athlete to bring with me and for him to go out on top, I couldn’t ask for anything more as a coach.”

As a freshman in 2012, Gibson had a hamstring injury and wasn’t able to compete in the hurdles. To play it safe, his coaches only ran him in the open competitions during the outdoor season.

“I didn’t really compete freshman year,” Gibson said. “The only ones who really believed that I should do hurdles were me and [Swett], so we decided to try one race and I kept getting better and better throughout the year.”

While hurdles may be what got him to the national championship, Gibson has proven his versatility this season. He ran a school-record time of 6.96 in the 60 meters at the Brown Alden Invitational, which tied for fourth in DIII, and he also jumped 6.56 meters in the long jump, which was good for third in DIII New England standings.

“My next two years I just want to keep getting better and better,” Gibson said. “And my coaching staff’s great and they’ll give me the opportunity to get faster and faster and hopefully be in this same position next year.”

Gibson and Swett hope to bring more athletes with them to the national championships next season.

“This is going to help our program so much,” Swett said. “The kids on the team are going nuts already. They’re all ready to go [to a championship], so it’s just a huge positive for the program at Worcester State.”