Ahead of the pack

Merzudin Ibric and co-Head Coach Marc Mangiacotti at the NCAA Hall of Fame

Earning a place on the Dean’s List and winning All-America honors in track are outstanding accomplishments, but they are just the latest legs in the remarkable race that Wheaton junior Merzudin Ibric began as a youngster in war-torn Bosnia.

The Boston Globe profiled Ibric, who is one of 23 college athletes featured in a permanent exhibit at the NCAA Hall of Champions. His story is foundĀ  within the “In My Own Words” segment of the outdoor track & field exhibit. Just prior to the 1995 genocide that took place in Srebrenica, where approximately 8,000 boys and men were killed, Ibric and his family left that city before arriving in the United States in 1998.

“He’s one of the hardest workers and most disciplined student-athletes I have ever worked with,” said Marc Mangiacotti, who coaches Wheaton’s track squad with Paul Souza.

“There was a video presentation, and when they saw pictures of buildings leveled and villages blown apart, they were shocked.”

When Ibric and his teammates were in Indiana this winter for the NCAA’s indoor championships, they made a side trip to Indianapolis to visit the Hall of Champions and see the exhibit featuring Ibric.

“It was an emotional moment for everyone,” said Mangiacotti, “including the coaches.

The international relations major is currently working on a book about his experiences, which he has titled “Running for My Life.”

Source: The Boston Globe