The University of Utah indoor track and field season will come to a close this weekend with a single Ute competing in the NCAA Championships. Grayson Murphy will be taking on some of the nation’s best in College Station, Texas, after competing in only one indoor meet this season.
Murphy will be racing in the women’s 5,000-meter event, which she qualified for in her lone indoor meet. Murphy met requirements for the race in December 2017 after racing in the Boston University open. In this race, Murphy set a new personal record time and boosted herself into the top ten nationally. This event only allows for 16 runners to be qualified, providing high competition.
After the race in December, Murphy did not compete in any more indoor races due to some health concerns. Preparing for this race as she usually would, Murphy is feeling the push to succeed.
“This race is a little different because I haven’t raced in so long so, I think going into it, the pressure feels kind of on because nobody knows what is going to happen,” Murphy said.
Head coach Kyle Kepler has confidence in Murphy’s preparation to go and compete for the Utes.
“At this point, all hay is in the barn and we are going to try and cash in some of that hard work and now it’s about rest and doing a few things to sharpen up,” Kepler said.
While there might be some concern on how Murphy will run, both Kepler and Murphy have set some goals to achieve in this race.
“I would like to be another All-American,” Murphy said. “Go out there and try my best because I haven’t raced in so long I don’t know what to expect and my coaches don’t either.”
Both runner and coach acknowledge there is no way to know what exactly will happen. They do know Murphy will try as hard as possible.
“You’re there to try and race to the best of your ability and I know [Murphy] is ready and feeling good and feels like she can do some things,” Kepler said. “They are all girls with the exception [of] two or three that she has beaten before.”
Kepler still sees the challenge of Murphy stepping out for the majority of the season as a strategic plus.
“Certainly being her first race in a couple months leaves a little bit to the unknown, but that’s okay,” Kepler said. “Sometimes that unknown is a big-time advantage for you. People don’t know how you’re running, they don’t know how you are going to run. So I think from that standpoint, it would be a big advantage that people haven’t seen her for a while.”
Kepler also believes this meet will give Murphy a good way to transition back into competition with the outdoor season right around the corner.
Murphy’s event is set to be held on Friday, March 9 at 8:25 p.m.
While Murphy competes, the rest of the team will be preparing for the start of the outdoor season. The season will start as the Utes travel to Los Angeles to compete in the Trojan Invitational hosted by USC on Saturday, March 17.