Whether he competes in indoor or outdoor track competitions, Cal State L.A. senior sprinter Khallifah Rosser has proven to be a top-notch competitor.
Rosser transferred from Chaffey College to become a standout in the California Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) for the Golden Eagles. His preferred events are the 400-meter hurdles, 400m dash, 4x400m, and the 200m.
The Fontana native is double majoring in Liberal Studies and Pan African Studies. Rosser mentioned how he wanted to go into teaching or administration in the future. He had also taken several Pan African Studies classes throughout his time at Cal State L.A.
“I feel like as an African American man, I have to take it and make it an obligation to learn about the history that wasn’t taught to us,” he said.
In 2016, Rosser competed in the Olympic Trials for the 400-meter hurdles. In his preliminary heat, Rosser came in first place with 49.89 seconds. In the semifinals, Rosser came in sixth place with a 49.61-second time.
In his first track and field season, Rosser paced the team in the 800m, 400m and the 400m hurdles. He also has broken several records. By finishing the 400m hurdles in 50.19 seconds, he broke a Jesse Owens track and a CCAA record.
He broke the school record in the 400m, running it in 45.75 seconds. In the Division II NCAA Championship, Rosser won the 400m hurdles title. He earned the titles CCAA Track Athlete of the Year and the West Region Track Athlete of the Year.
Competing for indoor track and field was a new experience for Rosser. Despite the transition, he registered the second fastest time in the nation for the 400m with 46.56 seconds.
“I had to get used to the indoor track, the atmosphere and then running at a fast pace early on in the season,” Rosser said.
At the NCAA Championship, Rosser ran the 400-meter in the fastest qualifying time. The indoor track circuit introduced him to his ability to run the 200m heats. His success in the 200m “was a surprise.”
“I made it to the nationals for the 400m and for the 200m,” Rosser said. “I never really thought of myself as a 200m runner… I didn’t know I had that type of foot speed, especially that early during the season.”
In the NCAA Championship finals for the 400m, Rosser pulled a hamstring. The injury would also sideline him during the 2017 outdoor season.
Rosser values his relationship with his teammates; he hopes to keep them motivated and help them succeed.
Cal State L.A. has been a place that helped Rosser excel as an athlete as well as a student. He noted how the academic advisors were a great resource on campus. The coaches of the track team are what Rosser likes the most about being an Golden Eagle.
“We built a relationship over the years,” said Rosser. “We were able to talk with them about track related stuff or non-track related stuff and I feel like that is important.”
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