Murphy will run for Lafayette
Pleasant Valley’s Ryan Murphy (front, center) signed a letter of intent to attend Division 1 Lafayette College on Tuesday for track and cross country. Seated beside Ryan are his parents, Cheryl and David Murphy. Standing behind them is Bears track coach Michelle Piontkowski. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
They say to get really good at any sport, it takes commitment and years of experience.
For Pleasant Valley’s Ryan Murphy, just one year of running cross country to help him improve his distance events in track made a huge impact.
The improvement led to him signing a letter of intent on Tuesday to run both sports at Division 1 Lafayette College.
“I played three years of high school soccer and I really loved it,” he said. “But I decided to run cross country this year so I could just concentrate on improving my running.”
Murphy, who runs 60 miles a week at the peak of his training, qualified for the District 11 championship race this year against what he describes as “strong competition in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.”
“In running the 3200 meter race in track last year at districts, I was disappointed with my finish,” Murphy said. “That helped me decide to leave soccer and run cross country.”
For the Bears’ track team, Murphy finished second in the EPC 3200 meter race, third in the EPC as a member of the 3200 meter relay team, and fourth in the District 11 as part of the Bears’ relay team.
“I really don’t think much when I run,” he said. “I like to get out early with the lead, hang in the middle of the race, and then finish strong.”
To be considered for admission into Lafayette, Murphy, who received the Cross Country Scholar Athlete award this year, had to be as good in the classroom as he was on the course and the track. He will graduate from Pleasant Valley with a class rank in the top seven percent of a senior class with 426 students.
“As parents, all we did is provide structure for Ryan,” said his father, David. “We placed no expectations upon him. He’s a self-motivated, impressive young man. Sure, we’re involved in his life, but we just went along for the ride and enjoyed his success.”
“We are very proud of everything Ryan has done in the classroom, on the track and in cross country,” said his mother, Cheryl. “He really loved playing soccer. It was difficult, but it was totally his decision to run cross country.”
“I figured the more running I could do, the better I would get. Soccer is running, too, but you run with a team rather than on your own,” said Murphy.
His decision was well thought out because he wanted to give himself the best opportunity to participate in a sport at the collegiate level.
With his priority set solidly on academics, Murphy said that Lafayette is a “good fit” for him.
“I want to study computer science. I run all year long now, too. I would like to become a top runner at Lafayette.”
His effort in training, and his hard work in the classroom, have resulted in an overall achievement that qualifies Ryan Murphy to be the epitome of a scholar athlete, and deserving of admission to one of Pennsylvania’s most prestigious colleges.