Grayson Murphy started her college career as a soccer player, but her competitive drive has landed her a spot at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. She’ll be the lone runner to represent the University of Utah.
“I’m really excited,” Murphy said. “It’s an honor to go and represent Utah there. I wish that I did have teammates coming because that is a big part of my success is having everyone there. I think having a team that supports you is really helpful at big meets.”
Murphy will be the only Ute competing at the event, where she will run the 5000-meter individual race. The indoor championships take the top 16 athletes in the country to compete in different events. Murphy finished third at the MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships in February with a time of 15:53:24.
The journey that Murphy took to get to the NCAA Championships is a road less traveled. After high school, Murphy played soccer at Sweet Briar College in Virginia and she led the team with five goals and two assists. Soccer helped Murphy realize that even though she loves competing with a team, her drive to compete eventually led her back home to Utah.
After spending a year at Santa Clara, where she started running cross country and track, Murphy knew it was time to come home. The experiences away from home helped her appreciate things a little differently this time, especially the support of her teammates.
“It means a lot, the team I had at Santa Clara wasn’t supportive in the same way,” Murphy said. “They were really happy for me, but they weren’t trying to get to the same places. Here, everyone is trying to get to nationals as well, and it’s a collective effort. Everyone wants everyone else to do good and be their best.”
The motivation from her teammates has pushed Murphy to be better individually and value the team aspect of running. Her team at Utah is continually pushing her to be better because everyone wants to succeed both as a team and individually.
As Murphy heads to the indoor championship, she made sure that she did not waste a single practice.
“It’s been a little different,” Murphy said. “I’ve been tapering for a long time now because we didn’t really expect it. Not that my coaches didn’t think I could do this. It’s really kind of luck getting into this meet and all the stars have to align.”
Murphy and her coaches have been mixing shorter workouts with more volume and longer workouts with less volume to keep up the intensity and make every mile count.
The opportunity to run in the championships is a dream come true for Murphy. She plans on taking it all in, and she wants to prove that Utah does belong in championship conversations.
The women’s 5000-meter race is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m., and Murphy will be wearing bib number 588.