Malik Crossdale won the National Scholastic Championship 400 meter dash with a personal best time of 52.54, the top time for any middle schooler in the country this year.
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His basketball season may have ended in a heartbreaking loss this month, but redemption was found on the track as Manhattan Academy Technology 8th grader Malik Crossdale had one more race left in his middle school track and field career: the United States National Scholastic Meet held this past weekend at the New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights.
Already coming into the meet as one of the nation’s best in the 400 meters, 200 meters and the 800 meters, Malik, 14, set a personal best time in the 400 meters on Sat., March with a blazing 52.24 to lead the field of the nation’s best middle school runners. On Sunday, competing indoors for the last time for M.A.T., Malik won the race in surprisingly easy fashion, leading from start to finish, never being challenged, and running a personal best time of 51.78 — also the best time in the country this year for a middle school student.
“This young man is special not only for his athletic prowess, but for the way he interacts with everyone he comes across, a proud coach John DeMatteo said on Sunday. “His teachers and schoolmates adore him equally, our principal has nothing but great things to say about him, and parents in the community know how much he means to this school both as an athlete and a person. He took the basketball championship loss especially hard, but to come back like this and be crowned as the best in the nation tells you about his character and his perserverance.” When asked about his race, Malik commented, “I could have ran faster, but there was no one at the end to push me. It feels great to end the season like this, and all that hard work paid off.”
Malik was greeted at the finish line by his future high school coach, Mr. Carney from Fordham Prep.
“Looks like we got an anchor leg for our 4x4,” an excited Coach Carney said.
“I’ll be sad to see him go for sure, and when I think back on what he meant to us, I’ll not think of all the championships he won in track and field, but rather on the character he displayed in the hallways of our school, the compassion he showed for his classmates and the commitment he showed to all his coaches,” said DeMatteo. “M.A.T. will never see another Malik Crossdale.”