Saturday, July 14, 2012
Boys Athlete of the Year: Calling Khalfani
By Mark Tennis
Blazing fast junior Khalfani Muhammad, who has all-state football credentials as a running back, led Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks to the CIF state track title. He’s the second State Athlete of the Year from Notre Dame in six years.
For the second time in six years, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks can celebrate having the Cal-Hi Sports Boys State Athlete of the Year.
This time, the honoree for the 2011-12 school year is electrifying football running back-track sprinter Khalfani Muhammad. He comes on the heels of 2006-07 winner Michael Stanton, now more known as Giancarlo Stanton, emerging baseball superstar for the Miami Marlins.
Muhammad isn’t close at all to Stanton’s impressive 6-foot-5 frame. Instead, he’s a 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior who flies around the edges for the Notre Dame football team and who flies down the lanes for the Irish track team.
At the CIF state track championships on June 2 in Clovis, Muhammad came through for his team by winning the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and anchoring a first-place squad in the 4x100 relay. His relay leg was particularly impressive because he had to make up a five-meter deficit. Muhammad’s winning times in the two dashes were 10.52 seconds (wind-aided) and 21.15 (wind-aided).
With those finishes by Muhammad leading the way, Notre Dame piled up 36 points and outlasted Serra of Gardena (32 points) to win the CIF state team title.
For the spring, Muhammad’s best times were 10.44 in the 100 and 21.00 in the 200. Those were among the best in the nation and established himself as one of the top junior sprinters in the nation.
On the gridiron, Muhammad was a highly regarded newcomer as a sophomore at Notre Dame for the 2010 season. And although the team only went 2-8, Muhammad still shined with nearly 1,000 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. He also was named to the all-state underclass team.
Muhammad showed improvement last fall as a junior. He ran for 1,126 yards and 12 scores, including outings of 21 carries for 218 yards and four touchdowns against Birmingham of Lake Balboa and 28 carries for 161 yards and one score against Bishop Amat of La Puente. Muhammad’s totals could have been much higher, but he had to leave in the second quarter of Notre Dame’s 10th game with an injury and then the team (6-4) got coin-flipped out of a CIF Southern Section playoff berth.
Although his lack of size may scare off some major colleges, Muhammad has still racked up nearly a dozen offers so far. Included are those from UCLA, Notre Dame, Cal and Washington. One player he reminds us of is former Washington, NFL and football-track phenom Napoleon Kaufman of Lompoc, the 1989-90 State Junior Athlete of the Year.
It’s rare for a junior to be the Boys State Athlete of the Year. The last two were Jesse Vasallo, a world-class swimmer at Mission Viejo in 1977-78, and Greg Louganis, the greatest Olympic diver of all-time who won a gold medal as a junior at Valhalla of El Cajon in 1976 and is shown as the athlete of the year for 1975-76.
Another junior who was being strongly considered for this year’s honor along with Muhammad was golfing sensation Beau Hossler from Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita. In all honesty, though, Hossler needed to have won in Friday’s final round of the Callaway Junior World Championship in San Diego. He finished in second-place behind Rico Hoey, who is another California junior. Hoey hails from Rancho Cucamonga. Hossler won that event last season and recently flirted with the lead at the U.S. Open in San Francisco. Hossler earlier became the youngest player to have qualified for the U.S. Open in back-to-back seasons since the 1950s.
ALL-TIME CAL-HI SPORTS
BOYS STATE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR (Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)
2011-12 - Khalfani Muhammad, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (football, track)
2010-11 - Marqise Lee, Gardena Serra (football, basketball, track)
2009-10 - Robert Woods, Gardena Serra (football, track)
2008-09 - Tyler Gaffney, San Diego Cathedral Catholic (football, baseball)
2007-08 - German Fernandez, Riverbank (cross country, track)
2006-07 - Mike Stanton, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (football, basketball, baseball)
2005-06 - Chase Budinger, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (basketball, volleyball)
2004-05 - Drew Shiller, Burlingame (football, basketball, baseball)
2003-04 - Kenny O'Neal, Oakland Skyline (football, track)
2002-03 - Steve Smith, Woodland Hills Taft (football, basketball, track)
2001-02 - Aaron Piersol, Newport Beach Newport Harbor (swimming)
2000-01 - Antwon Guidry, San Jose Leigh (football, basketball, track)
1999-00 - D.J. Williams, Concord De La Salle (football, track)
1998-99 - Chris Lewis, Long Beach Poly (football, volleyball)
1997-98 - C.C. Sabathia, Vallejo (football, basketball, baseball)
1996-97 - Ken-Yon Rambo, Long Beach Poly (football, track)
1995-96 - Chris Claiborne, Riverside J.W. North (football, basketball)
1994-95 - Eric Guerrero, San Jose Independence (wrestling)
1993-94 - McKay Christensen, Fresno Clovis West (football, baseball)
1992-93 - Calvin Harrison, Salinas North Salinas (track, basketball)
1991-92 - Jason Kidd, Alameda St. Joseph (basketball, baseball)
1990-91 - Rob Johnson, El Toro (football, basketball, baseball)
1989-90 - Ryan Hancock, Cupertino Monta Vista (football, baseball)
1988-89 - Lorenzo Neal, Lemoore (football, wrestling)
1987-88 - Adam Keefe, Irvine Woodbridge (basketball, volleyball)
1986-87 - LeRon Ellis, Santa Ana Mater Dei (water polo, basketball, track)
1985-86 - Brian Johnson, Oakland Skyline (football, baseball)
1984-85 - George Porter, Lompoc Cabrillo (basketball, track)
1983-84 - John Williams, L. A. Crenshaw (basketball)
1982-83 - Mike Smith, Hacienda Heights Los Altos (football, basketball, volleyball)
1981-82 - Jim McCullough, Hemet (football, wrestling)
1980-81 - Kevin Willhite, Rancho Cordova (football, track)
1979-80 - Darryl Strawberry, L.A. Crenshaw (basketball, baseball)
1978-79 - John Elway, Granada Hills (football, baseball)
1977-78 - Jesse Vasallo, Mission Viejo (swimming)
1976-77 - Brian Goodell, Mission Viejo (swimming)
1975-76 - Greg Louganis, El Cajon Valhalla & Santa Ana (diving)
1974-75 - Bill Cartwright, Elk Grove (basketball)
1973-74 - Tim Shaw, Long Beach Wilson (water polo, swimming)
1972-73 - Lonnie Shelton, Bakersfield Foothill (football, track)
1971-72 - Scott McGregor, El Segundo (baseball)
1970-71 - Anthony Davis, San Fernando (football, baseball)
1969-70 - James McAlister, Pasadena Blair (football, track)
1968-69 - Jeff Burroughs, Long Beach Wilson (football, baseball)
1967-68 - Mark Spitz, Santa Clara (water polo, swimming)
1966-67 - Mickey Cureton, Compton Centennial (football)
1965-66 - Tim Danielson, Chula Vista (track)
1964-65 - Paul Wilson, Downey Warren (track)
1963-64 - Don Schollander, Santa Clara (water polo, swimming)
1962-63 - Tommie Smith, Lemoore (football, basketball, track)
1961-62 - Forrest Beaty, Glendale Hoover (track)
1960-61 - Ulis Williams, Compton (track)
1959-60 - Dennis Ralston, Bakersfield (tennis)
1958-59 - Dale Story, Orange (track)
1957-58 - Willie Davis, L. A. Roosevelt (basketball, baseball, track)
1956-57 - Bill Kilmer, Azusa Citrus (football, basketball, baseball)
1955-56 - Fred Lacour, S.F. St. Ignatius (basketball)
1954-55 - Dick Bass, Vallejo (football)
1953-54 - Don Bowden, San Jose Lincoln (track)
1952-53 - Ronnie Knox, Santa Monica (football)
1951-52 - Marty Keough, Pomona (football, basketball, baseball)
1950-51 - Charlie Powell, San Diego (football, baseball)
1949-50 - Lang Stanley, L.A. Jefferson (track)
1948-49 - John Henry Johnson, Pittsburg (football, basketball, track)
1947-48 - Bob Mathias, Tulare (football, track)
1946-47 - Bill McColl, San Diego Hoover (football, basketball, baseball)
1945-46 - George Stanich, Sacramento (basketball, baseball, track)
1944-45 - Jackie Jensen, Oakland (football, baseball)
1943-44 - Bill Sharman, Porterville (football, basketball, baseball)
1942-43 - Glenn Davis, La Verne Bonita (football, baseball)
1941-42 - Irv Noren, Pasadena (basketball, baseball)
1940-41 - Tommie Fears, Los Angeles Manual Arts (football)
1939-40 - Howie Dallmar, San Francisco Lowell (basketball, baseball)
1938-39 - Jim Jurkovich, Fresno (football, track)
1937-38 - Frankie Albert, Glendale (football, baseball, tennis)
1936-37 - Jackie Robinson, Pasadena Muir (football, basketball, baseball)
1935-36 - Bobby Doerr, Los Angeles Fremont (pro baseball)
1934-35 - Ted Williams, San Diego Hoover (baseball)
1933-34 - Hank Luisetti, San Francisco Galileo (basketball)
1932-33 - Don Budge, Oakland University (tennis)
1931-32 - Corney Johnson, Los Angeles (track)
1930-31 - Frank Sobrero, Oakland (football, basketball, baseball)
Note: List continues back to 1890-91 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book & Almanac. All selections prior to 1978-79 done retroactively through research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.
Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.