When T.C. Williams Senior Ibrahim Bangura leaned into the tape as he approached the finish line at the F.I.T Meet in Prince George’s County, he felt good about the win but had no idea just how good a win it was. When his time appeared on the board he had set the number one time in the U.S. for the day in the event. Water exploded from his mouth as he popped to his feet and repeatedly ran the numbers through his head: 55 meters in 6.37 seconds.
Ibrahim was well into eighth grade when T.C. Williams Track and Field Coach Michael Hughes spotted him on the track and encouraged him to join the T.C. track and field team. With the season nearly over he didn’t get much running in, but he enjoyed the banter and antics with the Lyles brothers. Noah and Josephus turned pro after graduating from T.C. in 2016. Once the initial intimidation wore off, the brothers would become mentors to Ibrahim, both on and off the track.
It was when Ibrahim raced beside Noah in the 100 meters at a regional competition that he realized his potential, earning his personal best and embracing himself as a runner.
At T.C. Williams, the Lyles brothers taught me and other young runners how to maintain a positive mindset, to encourage and support fellow runners, to be humble, and to be a team player and leader. It’s something older runners pass down to the freshman to lift them up,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was a first grader when he figured out that he was good at running. His mom, who also ran track in school, saw it, too. He signed on with the track and field program through the recreation department where he tallied up the laps throughout his years at William Ramsay Elementary School and Francis C. Hammond Middle School.
Ibrahim is a naturally powerful athlete and bright student with a really positive attitude. He just keeps pushing through, even when things don’t go as expected. He’s a playful and happy-go-lucky guy who was selected to be a team captain by his teammates. As a high performer, his wins lift the whole team. When you have a really strong athlete, others tend to want to raise their game,” said Coach Hughes.
Ibrahim’s investment of time in track means staying after school to do homework and meet with teachers before heading to the locker room. He puts in two to three hours of practice each day and goes to meets on the weekends. He has his eyes set on studying computer science in college and competing in track and field at the college level. An All Met Honorable Mention last year, Ibrahim and his coach are confident that a strong spring season will create more opportunities. Ibrahim will be ready to make a decision and take it to the next level when that time comes.
Watch the winning race: