CSU Trustees’ Award winner to invest in film career


Photo courtesy of the CSUN Athletics Department.

Maxwell Clark, Staff Reporter

CSUN track athlete Dawoud Mishal was honored with the California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement last September and is looking to use the award to invest in his film career.

Mishal, who hails from San Diego, California, is a junior at CSUN and has been running track for the past five years. He came to Northridge to study at the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at the Mike Curb College. The film major applied for the CSU Trustees’ Award when he learned he met the requirements of community service, academic standing, personal accomplishments and inspirational goals.

The award is only given to one student per CSU in the form of at least $6,000. Though thrilled with the outcome, Mishal did not enjoy his experience applying for the award.

“I had to be able to tell my story in a compelling way, and sadly, you have to brag a lot,” Mishal said. “I hated [bragging]. I hated it so much, but that’s what you have to do with these types of applications.”

Mishal only plans to do track for his tenure in college and will focus fully on a career in film after school. He is still figuring out exactly what he wants to do for his future in cinema, but knows that he wants to eventually be a producer or director.

Mishal is using the award as an investment in his career aspirations so he can be successful after college.

“I didn’t have a lot of money to be able to invest in my film career,” the runner explained. “I had enough money to survive university, and when this opportunity came, I had money to invest in myself and my future career.”

Mishal first came to CSUN as a walk-on for the track team because his high school coach in San Diego knew one of the coaches on the team. The deciding factor for Mishal on coming to CSUN wasn’t just the film or the track program. Instead, it was the mascot. His final decision was between Fullerton and Northridge, and he liked the Matadors more than the Titans.

“[Titans] is whatever, but Matadors, oh man, that’s badass,” he said.

Mishal is a sprinter on the track team, where he runs the 200-meter, 400-meter and the 4×400 meter events. He has achieved all of his personal records while at CSUN, running a 51.67-second 400-meter and a 23.43-second 200-meter. Mishal looks to continue improving those numbers this season.

“[Setting new personal records] is always the goal,” Mishal said. “I am faster than I was last year according to my times in practice.”

Though he would like to break his personal bests, the sprinter understands that he can’t place his value as an athlete on the outcome rather the effort that he puts in.

Mishal suffered a couple of hamstring injuries since joining the CSUN track team. The first injury happened during his freshman year, when a hamstring strain in the first meet kept him out for two months, allowing him to compete in only two more meets. During the preseason, Mishal has been extra careful with his hamstrings and has specific shin splint workouts to keep himself from sustaining another injury.

Mishal was the fastest sprinter on his high school team, but coming to CSUN, he wasn’t anymore, which he said messed with him mentally. He explained that his experiences with injuries have made him appreciate being able to compete at the Division 1 level and put into perspective the struggles he was dealing with.

“When I got back [from injury], I wasn’t winning, but I was just happy that I was running and I really just love being here,” Mishal said.

The track athlete expects this spring to be a challenging semester, as he is going to have to navigate taking 18 units in all upper-division courses, and balance that with practices and meets for track, but says that he is physically and mentally prepared for the season.

“I feel like my body has never been stronger than it is right now, so if I can handle the class workload then it should be a great season,” Mishal said.

Him and his track teammates practiced all through winter break and even during the fall semester. Mishal also went to spend time back home with his mom and friends in San Diego, where he did beach hill workouts. With such a demanding schedule, Mishal has needed to work out with coaches separately on Mondays and Wednesdays. The personal workouts have been great for him, as the coaches are able to focus Mishal’s training on the areas he needs to improve on.

“We usually do block work on Mondays and I have been getting a lot of attention for that,” Mishal said. “My block start hasn’t been the best and recently I was able to have a strong first four steps, which I haven’t been able to do in the past.”

The film major expressed that with all of the activities going on in his life, he has needed to make tough decisions based on how his heart feels. He wants others to do the same.

“I think the most important thing that I want people to know is to follow their heart,” Mishal said. “If they feel like their heart is being pulled somewhere, they should follow it.”


Correction: Since the article was published, the Daily Sundial has been informed by the CSUN athletics department that Diwoud Mishal is no longer with the track and field team.