Coming off a summer of high mileage, Parkrose junior Ahmed Ibrahim was eager to race at the start of the cross country season.
“He was really taking off,” Broncos coach Steve Sexton said. “He was fulfilling what he wanted to do. But I was concerned. I didn’t want him to get too far extended going into the end of the season.”
The stretch drive has arrived, and Sexton can cast his worries aside. Ibrahim continues to race at a high level, the latest example coming Saturday against a deep field in the Warner Pacific Classic at Lents Park.
Ibrahim was the third Oregon finisher -- placing behind Ashland junior Evan Holland and Franklin junior Aidan Palmer -- by clocking a personal best of 15 minutes 21 seconds. His previous best was 15:24.
“We talked about him just staying within the top five or six or seven,” Sexton said. “There was no way he could stay with Evan. He was giving it his all, and it paid off for him. I was actually surprised he got the 15:21. But I knew he had it in him.”
Ibrahim transferred to Parkrose as a sophomore after spending his freshman year at 3A Jefferson, where he was the youngest of four brothers on a team that finished fourth in the 3A/2A/1A championship meet.
His brother Hassan, a two-time state runner-up for Jefferson, was the Northwest Oregon Conference district champion last year, beating Ahmed by five seconds for the title. In last year’s 5A meet, Ahmed placed 13th and Hassan was 35th.
Ahmed had an outstanding track season as a sophomore, winning district titles in the 800 and 1,500 meters and placing seventh and fourth in those events, respectively, in the 5A meet.
“That really inspired him,” Sexton said. “He peaked at the right time. He felt so good after he finished. Last year was a ground-breaker for him.”
Ibrahim hasn’t let up since. He has won six of his nine races this season and shaved 39 seconds off his personal best. He has the No. 5 time in the state this season among all classifications and is No. 2 in 5A, behind only Holland (14:53.2).
“His body has really been responding to all the workouts, from the beginning of the season up until now,” Sexton said. “He’s doing more than what I anticipated. I’ve been surprised at his finishing results for each race.”
Ibrahim is gearing for the district meet Oct. 24 at Blue Lake Park, where he will go after the course record of 15:56.6, set by Wilsonville’s Ty James in 2012.
“If the weather holds out, he can definitely set that record,” Sexton said.