Marcus Connolly, The Paisano
Serbian-born UTSA distance runner and junior computer science major, Dusan Makevic, wants nothing more than to improve himself everyday. Despite starting his running career later than most, Makevic has transformed himself into one of the finest athletes on the UTSA track & field team.
“I started running really late, my junior year in high school,” admitted Makevic. “Before that, I was playing soccer for five years.”
The majority of Serbian youth athletes play soccer at some point; it is the most popular sport in the country by a large margin. For Makevic, the progression from soccer to running competitively was natural, and in some ways, coincidental.
“Over there (Serbia), there are no (official) high school sports, but all the high schools in the town compete against each other,” began Makevic. “So my professor asked me, ‘Hey can you run one kilometer? I know you play soccer, so you might run fast.’ It was a Friday so I wanted an excuse to not go to school that day. I went to the race without any practice and I won there. That’s how I started.”
Despite having no official training in running cross-country, Makevic’s natural abilities gained the interest of a local coach by the name of Milisav Stanojcic. Under the tutelage of Stanojcic, Makevic quit playing soccer and began to focus on competitve running.
“(My first race) was in November 2009, and in February (2010) I ran at the (U19) State Cross Country Championships and I won in Serbia,” asserted Makevic confidently.
“In 2011, I competed in Europe for the (European Cross Country Championships) and I was 23rd out of 109,” said Makevic. “That’s when I started getting offers from colleges in the USA to come (to America) and compete in the NCAA.”
Makevic received offers from multiple schools but ultimately decided between Iowa State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Electing to live in a warmer climate, Makevic selected ULM to begin his collegiate career.
Makevic was an impact athlete at ULM immediately after arriving. In his freshman year, he received All-Conference Third-Team honors in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) for cross-country. He also received All-Louisiana First-Team and All-Louisiana Freshman of the Year, for cross-country.
As a competitor on ULM’s track team, Makevic was on the 2013 Indoor All-Conference Second-Team. He set a school-record in 2014 for the 3000m, clocking in a time of 8:15.27 — a record that still stands — which gained him a spot on the 2014 All-Louisiana First-Team.
Despite his decorated stint at ULM, Makevic grew unhappy with the conditions at the school, prompting him to seek a transfer.
“I went down to Louisiana (Monroe) and it was not what I expected,” said Makevic. “The coach that was there (Karoly Varga), left and took a job in California. The team became worse, so I wanted to find another school, another team to help me improve my results. I tried to find a few schools around here (southern USA) and (UTSA assistant coach David Hartman) was interested in me and said, ‘Yeah, we need you here’, and that’s how I got here.”
Since his arrival at UTSA, Makevic has been a productive member of the track team. He currently holds team-best times in five different events.
“I like it,” said Makevic when asked about UTSA. “I’m in computer science, the professors are good that I’ve had so far, and plus, we have a new track (Park West). It’s a good facility, so I have all the things I need to improve myself.”
After his time as a Roadrunner, Makevic would like to continue working on his craft as a runner.
“(After I graduate) I’d like to find a job in that field (computer science) but I’ll probably continue running for myself, and maybe compete just for fun,” said Makevic. “To compete in the European Championships or the World Championships for Serbia, you have to run the Olympic standard. So who knows? Right now, I’m focusing on improving myself and competing in college.”
Makevic and the UTSA track & field team have a busy month of May ahead of them. The team’s next event is on May 2, in Austin, TX, for the Longhorns Invitational. After the event, the team will compete in the Conference USA Championships beginning on May 14, then the NCAA Championships beginning on May 28.