Isaac Murphy

The No. 5 ranked men’s track team, fresh from hosting the Texas Relays, will travel to Tucson, Ariz. to compete in the Jim Click Shootout on Saturday. The Longhorns hope to continue their dominant performance from the Texas Relays but will have to do so with some important faces missing from the team.

Isaac Murphy, who finished third in the decathlon last week, will not compete in his favored event, but will run a leg in two relay events — the 4x400m and 4x100m — and throw the discus. 

Joining the relay team with Murphy will be senior Keiron Stewart, who will run his signature event, the 100m hurdles, at the meet.

Most of the long distance team will also get the week off, as the events that they dominated last week are not part of the Jim Click Shootout. Patrick McGregor, who runs the anchor leg for the distance medley team, will, however, compete in the 1500-meter run. 

Sophomore Ryan Crouser, winner of the shot put and Big 12 Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week last week, is also not scheduled to compete in Tucson, Ariz.

Isaac Murphy finishes decathlon campaign with third-place finish

Texas Relays action kicked off Thursday with the second half of the decathlon. Senior Isaac Murphy had a great start, taking fourth  place in the 400-meter hurdles and following that up with a second place finish in the discus, but finished third in the standings when all was said and done.

Curtis Beach of Duke and Murphy stayed neck-and-neck through the first seven events in the decathlon, but Murphy was unable to overcome a 137-point gap that Beach created with a win the pole vault.

Although Beach — and Murphy — showed some weaknesses in the javelin that allowed Romain Martin to leapfrog them into first place, the lead over Murphy once again exploded into 253 points after Beach’s best event — the 1500 meter run.

Part of the blame for the performance has to go to the layoff Murphy experienced in the indoor season due to his expired eligibility.

“I’m not as sharp as I was last year at this time, but that’s the plan; I want to be sharp in June.” Murphy said, “I’ve got a long time to go back to the chalkboard and work."

Though he could be forgiven for moping around after falling into third and failing to repeat as Texas Relays decathlon champion, Murphy is pleased with his performance with in the event.

“I feel good. I got a score that will get me into nationals.” Murphy said, “[I can] keep on moving with my season. I feel great

Junior Jake Wohlford, who also competed in the decathlon, wound up in 14th place.

The decathlon kicked off the Texas Relays Wednesday and athletes are already starting to separate themselves from the pack at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Senior decathlete Isaac Murphy opened up his decathlon campaign by scorching the rest of the field, winning the 100-meter dash. Clocking in at 10.48 seconds, he only missed matching his personal best by milliseconds. While his performance sputtered, with a seventh place finish in the long jump and a 12th place finish in the high jump, he certainly showed he has the ability to once again lift the decathlon trophy after a big win in the 2012 Texas Relays. He currently holds onto third place, but that should change with his second day performance.

“I feel good I’ve got some events I’m looking forward to coming up tomorrow.” Murphy said, “I’m gonna keep on doing my best and see where I end up.”

Junior Jake Wohlford, who also competed in the event ended up in 11th place after the first day of competition and will have to improve his performance greatly if he hopes to reach the podium.

Notably absent from the Texas Relays was freshman and Big 12 heptathlon champion Johannes Hock, who was rested for the event due to burnout after competing in back-to-back heptathlon events in the indoor season. He will compete later on in the outdoor season.

The Texas Relays continue Thursday with the second day of the decathlon competition, along with a collection of field events, including the hammer throw, javelin, and pole vault. An evening session of running events will follow and close out Thursday. The meet will run through Saturday.

Athletes from all around the world and in all stages of their careers will be drawn to Mike A. Myers Stadium as it opens its doors Wednesday for the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Nearly 40,000 fans will attend the showcase, which will feature athletes from the high school and college track and field circuit and a number of Olympians looking to make their mark on the Longhorns’ home field.  

“It’s definitely my favorite meet to compete in every year,” senior decathlete Isaac Murphy said. “Texas Relays trumps it all. It’s an honor to compete in the burnt orange and have the home crowd cheering for you. I love it.”

The home-field advantage will be important as the Texas men’s team looks to prove itself after a second-place finish at the Texas State Elite Meet last week.

“The key for us to do well is to not make the same mistakes we made last week,” men’s head coach Bubba Thornton said. “If we’re consistent, we have a chance of being much better.”

While the competition is not scored, Texas hopes to add the team of the meet award to its already formidable trophy case that includes the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championship. Helping the team to that goal will be seniors Keiron Stewart and Murphy, who were rested in their specialty events last week and hope to stun the crowd in their events.

On the women’s side, No. 5 Texas will head into the Relays without former head coach Beverly Kearney for the first time since 1993. For interim head coach Rose Brimmer, however, this year’s Texas Relays will be a special meet despite her absence.

“[The Texas Relays] was great before coach Kearney and it will be great even after she is gone,” Brimmer said. “It’s one of the biggest meets in the country and brings in a lot of great runners from all over the world.”

The Longhorns have performed solidly under Brimmer since January and will look to continue that in the second event of the outdoor season.

Riding strong into the home meet is the Longhorns’ 4X100-meter relay team, consisting of Morgan Snow, Christy Udoh, Danielle Dowie and Chalonda Goodman. The foursome began the outdoor season two weeks ago by winning the relay at the Aztec Invitational. The squad will continue its campaign Friday, beginning with preliminary races.

The Texas Relays begins Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with the heptathlon and decathlon events, and will continue through Saturday afternoon when the running event finals will be held.

Isaac Murphy, right, runs in a Texas Relay event. He won the decathlon last weekend, but still feels he has a lot of areas to improve upon.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

Seeing him walk off the track at Texas Relays, sporting a huge smile as he became the new focal point of every flashing camera, you could almost see the imaginary cape draped across his shoulders.

But Isaac Murphy’s smile was actually one of shock and disbelief that he had accomplished something so great. What appeared to be an almost effortless series of events leading to his victory were nearly unbearable the week before.

“I was kind of nervous before Texas Relays because the week before, all the things that you’re supposed to take care of and feel good about, weren’t really happening for me,” Murphy said. “Things at school weren’t going that great and I was feeling sick a couple of days before. I didn’t feel like I wanted to feel. I felt flustered.”

Murphy felt pretty heavy-laden, like everything was crashing down on him on the week he needed to feel the most secure. Mental toughness and a fresh mind are crucial for decathletes and their success. But quite honestly, Murphy felt like his was completely blown.

And just when he thought his situation couldn’t get any worse, it did. Friday’s forecasted clear skies and warm weather suddenly transformed into rain showers. Sand pits turned to mud and the lanes lost their traction. But for Murphy, such a simple unexpected act of nature was enough to overhaul his entire outlook on the remainder of the weekend.

“I remember getting ready to line up for the 100 meters and it started raining,” Murphy said. “It felt good to feel the rain. And I thought to myself, ‘Are you going be upset about it or you going to relax and run anyway?’ I didn’t care about anything after that. In my head, that was the turning point.”

Eventually the drizzle stopped, but Murphy’s personal records kept coming. He set or matched personal records in seven of the ten events, joining former UT decathletes Trey Hardee and Aaron Fox as decathlon champions.

“I didn’t realize how much coverage our decathlon was going to get,” Murphy said with a smile. “We usually don’t get as much love as we did that weekend.” Murphy was most excited to see the multi-faceted sport expand its audience.

But what really got head coach Bubba Thornton’s blood pumping is a talented young athlete finally listening to his advice. On Thursday, while Murphy was sitting in the grass taking off his track spikes after clenching fourth place in the 1500-meter run, coach Thornton approached him.

“Now, what’s different about this feeling and the feeling you felt at Indoor Nationals sitting on the bench after getting 10th place?” Thornton asked. Murphy replied with a grin, “You told me to have fun Bubba, and I listened.”

In a whirlwind of events and a day filled with mixed emotions, Murphy couldn’t help but think of Bill Collins, the man who molded him into the competitor he is today.

Collins was more than Murphy’s club track coach at Collins Elite Sprint; he was the first man to ever have faith in Murphy’s future. While a student at Harker Heights High School in Harker Heights, Texas, Murphy’s grades weren’t the greatest and his home life had seen happier days. In need of a change, Murphy took his best friend up on an offer to attend track practice with Collins.

“Out of this bad situation that I was in, I met the greatest man I’ve ever known in my life,” Murphy said. “My club track coach Bill Collins. He really was a father figure to me. He taught me what was what, got my grades straight and motivated me to come to UT.”

As the stands of Mike A. Myers Stadium emptied and the last few congratulatory remarks were exchanged between Murphy and his competitors, he received an unexpected text message from world champion decathlete Trey Hardee.

“He told me congrats, and it felt good to hear that from the world champion in my event. But immediately after that text he sent another one that read ‘You left a lot of points out there on the track. You need to get ready to get out there and back to work.’”

Taking Hardee’s words to heart and realizing what separates competitors from champions, Murphy knows that he can do them all even better.

“I want to jump farther in the long jump because I know that I can. I want to throw a couple of feet farther in the shot put because I’ve done it in practice. I want to jump a few inches higher in high jump because I felt like I could’ve at Texas Relays. I want to run faster in the hurdles because I felt like my arms were loose during the race. I want to throw farther in the discus because my personal record is 10 feet farther than what I threw at Relays. I want to jump higher in pole vault because I know I can get on some bigger sticks come conference time. I want to throw farther in the javelin because I know the impingement in my shoulder will feel better by then.”

And no matter what challenges and setbacks the weeks ahead attempt to hurl at him, he’s already got his game plan set in stone. Practice is for working out the kinks and fixing all the small things. On meet days, Murphy will now be concerned with a much simpler goal: “Trust my training, trust my coach, and go out there with a smile. I think if it’s going to happen that day, it will.”

Printed on Friday, April 6, 2012 as: Decathlete Murphy pushing to build upon strong Relays

Men's Track

Isaac Murphy took first place after the Decathalon came to its conclusion at the Texas Relays.

The multi-event athletes kicked off day two of the Texas Relays with the remaining events in the Men’s Decathlon.

It was Texas’ own Isaac Murphy who walked off the track victorious, breaking the 8,000 point barrier with a total of 8,067 points. He set or matched personal records in seven of the 10 events, joining former UT decathletes Trey Hardee and Aaron Fox as decathlon champions at the relays.
The two remaining Longhorns finished well within the top half of the 21 competitors. Petter Olson came in fifth with 7,857 and Kenny Greaves in seventh with 7,400 points.

It took a journey to get there.

Beginning with the running events, the athletes shot out of the blocks and set the track ablaze in the 110-meter hurdles in hopes of separating themselves early on in the competition.

Texas’ Murphy and Olson were among the top five. The top time in the event was awarded to Jake Wohlford with a time of 14.24. Idaho’s Andrew Blaser took second place, while Murphy and Olson finished third and fourth.

Next up, the men transitioned their focus from speed to brute power in the discus throw. In yesterday’s 400-meter dash, unattached competitor Wesley Bray ousted Texas’ Murphy by a hair. And he did it again — only this time by mere centimeters instead of seconds.

Bray’s toss of 41.75 meters earned him second place behind Notre Dame junior Ted Glasnow. Murphy finished third with a heave of 41.71 meters. The remaining Longhorns, Greaves and Olson weren’t able to pick up the pieces after fouling two throws apiece — ultimately finishing 10th and 14th respectively.

But Greaves was able to do what any decathlete does best: leave the former event behind and push on to the next one. And his positive mental focus proved to be the driving force behind his top jump of 16-08.75 in the pole vault. Greaves shares the first place vault with junior Heath Nickles of Ohio State.

Murphy’s height of 16-00.75 put him in fourth, just one competitor ahead of Olson who cleared 15-09.00 for sixth.

The competitors kept the throwing mentality as the men’s javelin throw brought on a new challenge. Boise State’s Kurt Felix dominated the event and jumped up a spot in the leader board into third place with his winning mark of 69.89 meters. The second and third place throws by Wesley Bray and Romain Martin of UT-Arlington, were eight meters shy of Felix.

And as the climax of the decathlon came to a close, it was senior Thomas FitzSimons of Mount St. Mary’s who sped past the finish line first in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:13.41. But the Longhorn trio of Greaves, Olson and Murphy followed in close pursuit taking 2-3-4. Seven seconds separated Greaves and Murphy coming in at 4:21.31 and 4:28.44. Olson finished in the middle of the two at 4.27:57.

The action-packed events of the Texas Relays will only continue to heat up as finals draw near.

Day three of the Relays will begin today at 9:30 a.m. with the women’s 4x100-meter relay preliminaries and javelin throw. The Division I and II high school boys and girls will conclude Friday’s evening session with the 4x400-meter relay scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Schools from around the country began competition in the 85th annual Clyde Littlefield Relays on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Cloudy skies and spotted showers didn’t dampen the spirits of Texas’ three decathletes competing in Wednesday’s opening events of the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Junior Isaac Murphy, freshman Petter Olson and senior Kenny Greaves set the bar high for the Longhorns with three full days of competition remaining. The trio is currently ranked among the top 14 of 21 spots filling the decathlon leaderboard.

In this grueling 10-event competition, continuous mental focus and precise execution is crucial. And Texas’ Murphy seems to be embracing that challenge. He is currently in second place with 4,192 points, trailing only Boise State’s Kurt Felix.

“It feels pretty good,” said Felix. “It is my first time doing the event in a while, yet I came out with a pretty good start. I have to stay consistent. Hopefully there will be a new personal best.”

For Murphy, those were fighting words. Murphy was able to knock out four personal bests for the second straight year, this time in the 400-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump.

And ironically, fate had it that he would match his personal best in the 100-meter dash with a first place time of 10.47. The closest in stride was a 10.81 by Texas’own Jake Wohlford, who is running unattached and representing himself. Olson clocked in a 10.90 for fifth place, followed by Felix in 10th and Greaves farther down the pack in 19th place.

The battle between Felix and Murphy became heated as the two long jumpers finished with leaps of 7.74 and 7.53 meters — allowing Felix to take the top spot. But for Olson and Greaves, a couple of unintended fouls pushed away their chances of performing as well as they had hoped. Olson finished ninth with a jump of 7.12 meters and Greaves in 22nd place at 6.50.

Olson’s chance at redemption came next in the men’s shot put. Olson, Felix and Murphy claimed 2-3-4 in the event, with Olson on top of Felix and the Texas bunch for the first time. But it was Houston’s Bray Wesley who heaved the farthest throw of 13.99 meters.

UT-Arlington’s Romain Martin cleared the winning height of 2.05 meters in the men’s high jump. Felix was able to finish out strong with the next best jump of 2.02 meters. The fifth place spot was shared between Olson, Greaves and Wohlford and five other competitors, all with heights of 1.90 meters. Murphy and three other men followed close behind with jumps of 1.87 meters, finishing in 13th place.

In the final event of the day, Murphy went on to take second in the 400-meter dash. Curtis Beach from Duke was able to maintain the few steps needed to push ahead of Murphy for the win. Murphy finished just two-tenths of a second behind Beach with a 48.01. The remaining Longhorns, Olson and Greaves were able to place among the top 10 in the event, finishing third and eighth, respectively.

The five remaining events in the decathlon will kick off today beginning with the men’s 110-meter hurdles at 11 a.m. The evening session will begin with the university/college 1500-meter run, undoubtedly the decathletes’ most anticipated event and final opportunity to make their time at Texas Relays unforgettable.

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Day one in the books at Relays

Men's Track and Field

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Although the Longhorns and the Bruins each had nine event wins, Texas was unable to hold onto their edge as they fell to UCLA in the outdoor season opener 85-77 on Saturday.

Despite an unpredicted loss, Texas’ performance showed the team’s potential.

And it appeared the men chose 100 meters to be their 2012 starting point of demolition. The 4x100 relay squad featuring Alex Williams, Marquise Goodwin, Keiron Stewart and Trevante Rhodes sprinted out a meet record winning time of 39.61. Teammates Mark Jackson, Aaron Scott, Emerson Sanders and Isaac Murphy clocked the third best time of 39.83.

Texas swept the 100-meter dash, as “Flash” Goodwin put the heat on with a winning time of 10.58. He was followed by Sanders in second, Rhodes in third, Scott in fifth and Williams in sixth.

The 4x400 relay group, featuring Kyle Thompson, Josh Brudnick, Stewart and Dereck Dryer continued the trend with a top finish of 3:14.60.

Dreyer and Stewart took second and third in the 400-meter dash, while Scott had a third place finish and time of 21.64 in the 200-meter.

Distance runners followed suit with a string of consistent performances. Sophomore Austin Roth controlled the pack of the 3000-meter steeplechase, clocking in a leading time of 8:57.00 to win. Teammate Collin Smith came in third. Brock Simmons debuted in the 5000-meter run and finished third overall with a 14:24.10.

The Longhorns also clenched the top two spots in the 1500 meter with C.J. Jessett (3:50.76) in first and Patrick McGregor (3:51.03) in second.

Thompson’s time of 1:50.11 ousted UCLA’s redshirt freshman Sam DeMello for the win in the 800-meter run.

Texas’ group of multi-event specialists were able to work their talent among a variety of events. Petter Olson won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.54 and threw for a fourth place mark in the javelin. Murphy was close behind in the hurdles at 14.68 and seventh in the discus. Kenny Greaves was able to see action for the first time this year, placing fifth in both the javelin and 110-meter hurdles.

The Longhorns’ fielders matched their usual powerhouse performances, starting with Jackson’s winning mark of 24-1.50 in the long jump. Sanders finished in third.

The highly touted Jacob Thormaehlen led the Texas throwers with his launch of 64-05.75 in the shot put. He also took second in the hammer throw with a toss of 185-2 and came in fifth in discus.

Will Spence added third place finishes in the shot put and discus, while Blake Jakobsson took fourth in discus.

Sophomore vaulter Mark Thomas cleared 16-04.75 to place second behind UCLA’s Mike Woepse.

Texas doesn’t see the loss as a shortcoming, but more so as the extra motivation needed to fine-tune and refocus for next weekend’s Texas Relays. 

Printed on Monday, March 26, 2012 as: Potential displayed amid loss to UCLA

Clutch performances by Texas’ fielders and heptathletes boosted them into an eighth place finish behind Indiana at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a total score of 22.5 points.

Senior Thrower Jacob Thormaehlen got the intensity levels cooking pretty high early on with his final heave of 67-03.75 in the shot put to break the school record previously held by freshman Ryan Crouser. Thormaehlen became an All-American for the second year indoors and earned second place overall in the event.

Crouser was tied for the lead with his first throw of 65-5, but hit a slump after that and fouled his remaining five attempts. Despite the major setback, he finished fifth overall to gain All-American status.

Continuing the trend was junior Marquise Goodwin in the long jump with his second straight third place finish indoors. His leap of 26-02.25 on his second attempt put him just over one inch shy of the gold.

Junior pole vaulter Maston Wallace matched his season best height of 17-8.5 to vault himself into the top eight. He finished sixth overall and became an All-American for the second time in his indoor career.

Heptathletes junior Isaac Murphy and freshman Petter Olson were among 16 competitors in the multi-event competition. The two men shattered day one’s first four events with a slew of personal bests.

On Saturday, Murphy and Olson returned fully charged to compete in the final three of the seven events. Their performances were among the highest scoring heptathlons in NCAA history.

The second event boosted Olson into a tie for seventh place as he matched a personal best height of 16-00.75 in the pole vault. In the final event, he clocked a 2:39.97 in the 1000 meter run and posted a career-high 5,868 points to earn seventh place overall.

Murphy came in seventh in the 1000 meter with a time of 2:45.49, earning him a 10th place overall finish with a season-high 5,571 points.

Eagerness and mental toughness gave rise to gritty performances on the NCAA Indoor battleground, shedding light on the Longhorns’ future success in the upcoming outdoor season. In two weeks Texas will dual unranked UCLA on March 24.
 

The ninth-ranked Longhorns are gearing up for competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., after a long but productive week of hosting the Texas Relays.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranked Texas No. 14 last week, but the team jumped into the top 10 for the first time of the outdoor season Tuesday.

This upcoming weekend should be another interesting one, as the Longhorn athletes look to continue their climb in the polls.

In the men’s 100-meter dash, Marquise Goodwin, Trevante Rhodes, Alex Williams and D.J. Monroe are set to compete in an attempt to break the meet record of 9.86 seconds, set by Ato Boldon in 1998.

Sophomore Keiron Stewart will also be looking to improve on his times after he set the school record in the 110-meter hurdles at the Texas-Arkansas-UCLA tri-meet with a time of 13.44 on March 25. Stewart currently holds the indoor and outdoor short-hurdle records at UT.

Stewart is also a part of the talented 1,600-meter relay team, along with Isaac Murphy, Andre Thomas and Danzell Fortson.
Decathletes Kenny Greaves, Murphy and Jake Wohlford are back in action after a much improved showing at the Texas Relays. Murphy and Greaves posted personal bests in eight and seven, respectively, of the 10 events last week. Wohlford, a freshman, won the 110-meter hurdles in the Relays decathlon.

While the athletes are coming off an exhaustive experience at the Texas Relays, as much of an experience as a race, the Mt. SAC Relays have an equally important history.

They bring in an estimated 9,000 competitors every year, according to mtsacrelays.com. Because of the famous elite division and amount of international high school students that attend, the organizers have adopted the slogan “Where the world’s best athletes compete.”

The Mt. SAC Relays also sponsor a novel 10,000-meter event. Texas sophomore Rory Tunningley will compete in what is the longest distance standard track event. This tedious race, which is a little over six miles long, has only had one American ever win the gold medal in the Olympic history and is not usually employed in U.S. meets.