Coppin State sophomore Jibri Victorian has qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 400 meter hurdles. However, it wasn’t by accident that he got to this point.

Victorian endured difficult experiences last year as a freshman. Coppin State head coach Carl Hicks explained, “Jibri qualified for the top 48 in this event last year. He made it into the top 24, but he didn’t make it into the top 12. He understood what he had to do to get there. He knew what it was all about going into this year. He knew that he had to get into that this year. He moved into the rankings tremendously.”

Victorian said he was just glad to be there because he really didn’t think he would make it his freshman year. “I was really happy to be there. I wasn’t thinking about making nationals or anything like that. I just used that whole thing as a learning experience and just try to get better.”

According to Coach Hicks, Victorian had to increase his physical strength.

“He had to get faster, leg speed wise. He’s always had good endurance but there was a lot of stuff he’s had to work on. Better mechanics,” Hicks said. “That’s part of every year. Working on what’s going to make him better. So Jibri has been doing that and hopefully we can get him going as this week progresses. I know that he can get better.”

Hicks and Victorian has been looking at tape this past week, breaking it down to find out what he can do better. The challenges awaiting him this time are largely from the West where the best time at the regional was 49.5 seconds and the last person to qualify over there finished in 50.7 seconds.

His time of 51.17 in the semifinals of the NCAA East preliminaries was good enough for 12th place, nabbing him the last spot to advance to the national championships.

Victorian knows that he has his work cut out for him on June 8-11 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. But a visit from former Coppin All-American Steve Delice put him at ease.

“He basically congratulated me and just told me to go out there and do my best. There’s nothing to lose and you made it this far,” Victorian said. “All you could do is be grateful, go out there and do your best and represent Coppin.”


Keith Henry

Special to the AFRO