Sophomore track star continues jumping hurdles

Wesley Crowell – Special to the Southern News

A highly recruited athlete out of Somerset, N.J., Yakabu Ibrahim started the journey to be a collegiate track star on bet with his best friend his freshman year of high school. What he didn’t know was what the bet would lead to.

Ibrahim was surprised to find out his mother ran track back when she went to school in Ghana. As the first to go to college Ibrahim has already began to leave his mark in the collegiate world of Track and Field.

In his first year as a member of Southern’s track and field team Ibrahim became the conference rookie of the year, set a school record in the 66-meter hurdles, and qualified for the World Junior Championships.

“[Winning the conference rookie of the year] was an amazing experience,” said Ibrahim. “I didn’t know I was going to [win conference rookie of the year] but it just happened I won conference rookie of the week for like three weeks straight and I got the school record, it just happened, it was an amazing experience.”

Ibrahim hasn’t let his success on the track go to his head and has shown maturity for a sophomore on the team. Head Coach John Wallin said his work ethic on the track inspires the younger members of the team.

“Yakabu is a very driven young man,” Wallin said. “He works very hard to hone his craft. Being a hurdler you have to be very focused on what you’re doing, It’s not only an effort thing it’s a technical thing, it’s good for a lot of kids to watch how he practice, because he gets very locked in on what he’s doing.”

Ibrahim said when he normally runs the hurdle events he’s locked in and his mind goes blank. However he remembers every second of the race where he broke the school record.

“My season is slowly coming to a crescendo,” he said. “I tried to build off of what I did last year, but I wasn’t running the times I was capable of but I was still winning. I was always unsatisfied.”

Ibrahim is just starting to crack the surface of his potential. Ibrahim said he doesn’t want to predict anything, but he is looking to smash the school record again in the NE-10 championships this weekend, and finally win the conference championship in his events.

Ibrahim has come a long way already according to Wallin and only has room to improve.

“His biggest improvement [so far] is his maturity,” said Wallin. “That was one of the biggest changes for Yakabu, he’s matured significantly in the last year. He’s also gotten a lot stronger in the weight room, which is a huge difference maker for athletes in track and field.”

Wallin said Ibrahim has the potential to set conference records and become an All-American in the hurdles. Ibrahim looks to win the hurdles, set a personal record, but above everything he wants Southern to come up with another conference championship in this weekend’s NE-10 Championships.

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