The Colgate Women's Games is a 46-year-long tradition and the nation's largest track and field series just for girls.

Many compete in hopes of getting noticed by college recruits, others with aspirations of running professionally.

Cheryl Toussaint was once one of these girls.

"I wasn't driven to run track, it was just sort of an accidental thing, like it is for many young girls, I just had lots of energy and I didn't know how to channel that energy," Toussaint said.

As a teen, the Brooklyn native was a fierce competitor on the Erasmus Hall High School track and field team and then at the Colgate Women's Games.

Toussaint’s dedication to the sport took her all the way to the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

She walked away with a silver medal as part of the women's 4X400 meter relay team. 

While she no longer competes on the track, Toussaint now runs the Colgate Women's Games as meet director. This is the very same competition she says turned her into the person she is today. 

"I had no idea what my potential was. I had no idea I had talent. Until you actually become a part of something that is constructive and organized, like track and field, you don't really know just what you have inside of you," Toussaint said.

Toussaint says she learned discipline, found balance, and gained self-confidence as a young runner. It's exactly what she hopes for the hundreds of girls competing today.      

"When I run, it helps my legs, and it helps my body breathe and it gives me energy and it's something to do," said Adrieena Biggs, a competitor.   

"I like running because it's fun, you get to meet new friends, and it's fun running actually, even sometimes when you don't win it's still fun," said Genisa Modestin, a competitor.

But above all else, Toussaint believes the sport can help these young women make big strides toward any goal they might set – on or off the track. 

"There is nothing like being able to earn a college scholarship or just to be a better citizen, this program is all about that, so I can't imagine any other place I'd want to be, it's very fulfilling," Toussaint said.

So, for inspiring these girls to know their strength, Cheryl Toussaint is our New Yorker of the Week.