Mustaffa Bey is pointing toward the city-wide Public Schools Athletic League Individual and Team Cross Country Championships and a possible trip upstate. On a recent Saturday when his team took a break from league competition, he and his teammates were entered into the Reebok Manhattan Interscholastic Invitational Meet at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx.
Last year while a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School, he did not qualify for the New York State Cross Country Meet as he turned in an 18-minute performance in the PSAL city-wide competition.
He worked hard over the summer to better prepare himself for such a championship meet.
The 5’11” athlete recently covered the 2.5-mile course of the Manhattan Invitational meet in a slow time of 13:49.4 in one of seven sections of the Meet composed of numerous schools across the country. He thus became the second PSAL finisher in a field of 201 finishers. As a team, Jefferson finished in 22nd place in an overall field of 28 schools in this race. Last year in the same meet, he clocked in at 14.11.
“Now my goal is to try to break 13:30 in cross country before I graduate,” he said. “And I want to qualify for the New York State Meet in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track. But my main event is actually the 800 meters (on the track).” I want to break two minutes in the event.
“It’ll take a lot of training and I have to get motivated for me to go to the State Meet,” he added.
“It’s fun to run here at Van Cortlandt Park. (In the recent event) I didn’t get the time that I wanted. Cross country and track are very good sports.”
Right now, the senior, and many other similar athletes, are undecided about college.
Bey has been coached by Claudell Martin for the last three years at Jefferson. He joined the indoor team in the middle of the indoor season or during the last winter made a big jump in the latter in the middle of te season.
“He helped me a lot,” the resident of Brooklyn said. “He knew what were best for now and knew that I wasn’t a sprinter. He helped me a lot,” said Bey. “He knew that he wasn’t a sprinter and (at the same time), adjusted to my schedule.”