Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Notre Dame sprinter a double-triple threat
By Tim Haddock
SHERMAN OAKS -- It would be enough if Sherman Oaks Notre Dame sprinter Khalfani Muhammad won the CIF state title in the 100 meters.
But he wants more.
He wants to break the school record in the 100. He wants a state title in the 200. He wants to win the state championship on Notre Dame’s 400 relay team.
For good measure, he wants to go to a college that will let him play football and run track.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Khalfani Muhammad has hopes of winning three state track titles.
The Notre Dame junior who is also the running back on the football team has offers from eight schools to play football. His most recent offer came from Cal last week. He also has offers from UCLA, Washington, Oregon State and Utah in the Pac-12. Arkansas has expressed interest, as have Cincinnati and Duke.
But Muhammad says he wants to be patient, take his time before making a decision about which school to attend. It’s quite a funny approach for one of the fastest runners in California.
“I want to go to a school that will allow me to do both, track and football,” Muhammad said. “I plan on doing both for a long time.”
He has the philosophy of a marathon runner when it comes to his future. But for the next five weeks, Muhammad is focused on running 100 meters in less than 10.32 seconds. By the end of the track season, Muhammad could have three CIF state titles, two school records and any number of college offers to run track and play football.
“Khalfani is into track. He loves running track,” Notre Dame track coach Joe McNab said. “He works hard at it. He’s a student of track, so he knows who his competition is. It’s very important to him. It’s his main thing that he likes and he does a great job of it.”
Rodney Glass, a wide receiver at Arizona State, holds the Notre Dame school record in the 100 at 10.32 seconds set in 2006. Muhammad is on pace to break the record if he continues to shave fractions of seconds off his time the way he did last year.
“He’s close. At this time last year, his best time was 10.7 something,” said McNab. “He ended running a 10.55 at the CIF finals. He’s two-tenths ahead. If he drops another two-tenths, he’ll be right in that ballpark.”
Muhammad already holds the school record in the 200. He set that as a sophomore at 21.11 seconds. McNab said Muhammad can break the 21-second barrier in the 200 before the end of the track season.
Muhammad is currently ranked fourth in the state in the 200 but held the fastest time earlier in the spring. Andre McBride from San Leandro has the top time in the 200 at 21.21 seconds, according to DyeStat.com. Muhammad’s fastest time in the 200 was 21.34 seconds.
McNab said Muhammad’s approach to track is the same as another standout athlete at Notre Dame: Justin Fargas. He went on to play running back at USC and in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.
“He moans when we have a hard practice, but he gets it done,” McNab said. “At meets he keeps to himself. He tries to focus on what he needs to do, especially the big meets. Everyone knows who he is. He warms up properly and he’s out there to win races.”
Muhammad also anchors the 400 relay team, which has the fastest time in the state at 41.45 seconds, according to DyeStat.com. Once the CIF state track and field finals roll around in June, Muhammad should be in contention for three state titles.
“Right now I’m just going to take it day by day,” Muhammad said. “Work out hard and let that propel me to the next day to work out even harder. Just excel until the end of the year. I’m looking forward to winning state. After that, get on a USA team and just see how I do.”