Cardozo HS Track Star Wins Gold At World Youth Games
<B><I>(Robert Williams III) </I>Muhammad shows off her gold medal.</B>
(Robert Williams III) Muhammad shows off her gold medal.
It’s been an amazing year for Dalilah Muhammad.
Dalilah, a Cardozo High School track standout, has punctuated her winning season with a gold medal victory at the 5th annual International Association of Athletic Federations World Youth Games.

“I wouldn’t say I was expecting it, but I really wanted it (gold medal),” Muhammad said. “I went in the race as the national leader, which only meant that I had the fastest time so far. I just wanted to come out strong”.
The 17-year old Springfield Gardens resident was one of just 31 athletes -and the only one from Queens - that were selected to join Team USA in the IAAF event, which took place July 11-15 in the Czech Republic.
Dalilah came in first in the 400-meter hurdle trials as well as the finals. In the trials, she ran a 59.8. In mid-race of the finals she was holding third or fourth place and turned it up toward the end snagging first place with an impressive time of 57.25.
However, she still didn’t beat her personal-best time of 57.09, which she set at the Nike Outdoor Nationals on June 16.
Muhammad’s family was overjoyed at learning that she had won the gold medal.
“Oh, I feel ecstatic. We were shouting like crazy in my office,” said Dalilah’s mother. Nadirah Muhammad. “I found out 10 minutes after the race. I was online looking for the results. It was 11 a.m. our time, 5 p.m. their time. I just said ‘yes’ and the whole office said ‘she did it?’ and the office just started shouting”.
Muhammad is entering her senior year this the fall at Cardozo in Bayside, and will have the rare opportunity of showing off an international gold medal.
However, Dalilah says she won’t boast too much though. “I’m still pretty humble.”.
She feels that being a gold medalist in high school won’t be much different than before.
“My school (already) seems to know about my track career,” Dalilah said. “A lot of people know that I didn’t expect (them) to know about it, like people around the neighborhood. I guess when I get back to school they’ll probably make announcements.”
Dalilah’s attitude persists when she talks about her future in track.
“I’m definitely looking forward to going to college for running track and maybe I could turn pro after college,” Muhammad said. “Hopefully there’s the Junior World team that I’d probably try out for.” As for now, She is still practicing with her youth club, the New York Novas.
She was hoping to take a little break after her victory but her club coach, George Taylor, wouldn’t hear of it.
“My club coach is excited about me winning,” Dalilah said. “I’m trying to take a break, but he’s not letting me.”
She has won other honors this year, including being named Gatorade Player of the Year for girls track in the state of New York. She joined an impressive list of former winners that includes athletes like New York Yankees’ All-Star Derek Jeter, Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie.
Despite Muhammad’s strong performance during the scholastic season, Cardozo placed second in the PSAL championships. The quest for a title becomes far more difficult with the loss of Lindsay Rowe, who leaves for UCLA in the fall.
“Our method is to keep bringing in good athletes,” Cardozo head track Coach Gail Emmanuel said. “We make sure our kids keep moving up, so we can still be valuable. So while we lose (Lindsay), we’re gearing the upcoming athletes to take her place.”
It will now be up to Dalilah to carry the team to first place this coming school year.
But according to Emmanuel, Muhammad has enough on her plate already.
“She’s going to sign for a scholarship and get that out of the way. She’ll be my front runner, but there will be no pressure at all.”
Just a gold medal to show off for a while.