Yakabu Ibrahim: best hurdler in conference
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Yakabu Ibrahim, a redshirt senior and quad-captain, is ready to go for
this weekend’s NE10 Indoor Championships. He’s number one in the conference for hurdles and
number two in the 60 meter.
“My coach is looking for me to score big points at conference,” Ibrahim said. “I’m number two
in the country just off the national automatic qualifying time and the season has been going
His head coach, John Wallin, a 10-time Coach of the Year from the United States Track and
Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association, said Ibrahim has been doing great and he
recently won his third career New England indoor title, a meet moved up in the schedule this
year in a possible attempt to help qualifications for the nationals meet.
New Englands took place Feb. 2 and 3 in Boston, Mass, one week before this past weekend’s
Valentine Invitational. In New Englands, the Owls finished in fourth place with Ibrahim
finishing first in the 60 meters, outlasting competitors from all divisions. With a time of 8:04, he
led a pack that also included sophomore Ruvens Exantus, who, like Ibrahim, brought home All-
New England honors.
“No matter who you are there’s a lot of work that goes into being a leader and performing on the
track,” Wallin said. “The better you get, the higher the stakes so there’s a lot of work that goes in
whether it’s Yakabu or someone else. There’s a lot of work going into being prepared to
Ibrahim said communication is generally better within everyone’s specific event groups because
people have things in common. He said that the jumpers have a different bond with each other
just like throwers, hurdlers, pole vaulters and the distance runners.
He has served as one of four of this year’s indoor track and field captains, along with Tikuan
Johnson, Brian Sappleton, Hunter Stokes and Luke Velez. Ibrahim is a multiple time All-
American and All-New England student-athlete and has also previously been an NE10
Champion in relay and hurdles.
“Thinking about my teammates always comes second nature, from inspiring them or making sure
people get the message of the goal we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “A lot of us have our
eyes on making it to nationals and I bring a certain level of energy and mindset at practice that
we’re all here to get better.”
He also said that he’s felt like the coaching staff has done a good job this year in spreading out
athletes over all of the event categories and making the team more balanced with depth this
season. Ibrahim said that with more athletes there’s less pressure for others to triple or quadruple
themselves on a meet day.
“We tried desperately on the men’s side to keep a very balanced team and I would say we’re
very balanced now, we just happen to be much stronger across the board probably in the past two
or three years,” Wallin said. “We have more depth and more high-quality athletes at every
Photo Courtesy: southernctowls.com