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Luke Murphy a Winning Runner for Lincoln Christian

By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer

CROSS COUNTRY’S BEST: Luke Murphy of Lincoln Christian won top individual medalist honors in the Class 4A boys state cross country championship in October in Shawnee.


Courtesy photo


After finishing runner-up one year earlier, senior Luke Murphy of Lincoln Christian won top individual medalist honors in the Class 4A boys state cross country championship in October in Shawnee. Murphy won it with a time of 3:17.94, edging Michael Gates of Weatherford by less than three seconds (3:20.53).  

In addition to Murphy getting first place, Lincoln Christian won the team championship with 44 points. Preston Turner, another senior Eagle runner, took third place, finishing with a time of 3:22.01. Other Lincoln Christian runners were senior Brock Sherwin (10th, 3:27.91), senior Harison Michael (13th, 3:29.57), freshman Josiah Antis (17th, 3:34.05) and sophomore Nate Gibson (23rd, 3:37.23).

The key to winning, Murphy says, was “making my mind up from day one to push my body and work to be the example I’ve had in front of me to the younger guys and to my fellow classmates.

“I was determined the work the hardest I have ever worked,” Murphy says. “The mindset of a state champion is you have to make up your mind to be the best all the time. You can’t slack off, you can’t take days off that aren’t necessary, you have to make sure that you’re putting in 110 percent all the time.”

In terms of winning as a team, what’s special about it is Lincoln Christian school graduates about 60 people every single class, Murphy said. “For our size, the legacy we’ve created of winning is so special. I’ve watched this program grow from nothing to blossoming into something special.

“What’s more important than winning is having a winning mindset. In every practice, we invest more in each other. We care more about each other than winning a trophy. The people you run with, you know them long after winning the trophy and you can still connect with those people after the season. We’ve had a legacy for winning but also a legacy of caring for one another.”

Winning by just less than three seconds against the runner-up, there were other runners close by. But Murphy kept his focus on the race.

“It’s hard to gauge where the people are behind you, but there is a certain point in every race where you have to make up your mind to go for it,” he says. “Even if they are close to you and you happen to be leading the whole time, you have to make up your mind to just lay it all down despite what the weather is like or how you may be feeling. It doesn’t matter how long the race is, you’re sprinting to the finish line. I wasn’t worried, but you always have to have an intense mindset when you’re at the front.”

Murphy has a strong faith in God that drives him in all areas of life. It also moves him to inspire others, such as praying for all runners before the race.  

“As a Christian, I believe in the sacrifice that Jesus made, so I’m driven to make sacrifices myself and to represent the love that Jesus showed when he made the ultimate sacrifice,” he says. “My faith in Him drives me to make unpopular decisions, like standing up for what I believe in before competition.

“Before one race, I felt led to ask everyone on the starting line if they wanted to pray and we did that.” Murphy adds. “We got a huge circle going, basically, everyone who was racing that day gathered around and proclaimed that this race was going to honor God, and I got to lead that prayer. For me, that was honestly one of the coolest moments of my season.”

For anyone who wants to run, Murphy, who is headed to run at the Naval Academy in college, says that it’s a sacrifice.

“You have to eat better, discipline your mind, which is the biggest thing,” he says. “And don’t be afraid to lose. That’s how you get better.”

Murphy thanks those who have been part of his life in his prep cross country journey.
“I’ve grown a lot over the past four years in high school and a lot of it has been associated with my team and people who have been a part of my life because of running,” Murphy says. “I feel like that’s part of a divine-like setup. God saw the talent I have, but he also knew where I needed to grow, so he put certain people in my life to help me develop as a person. Honestly, all the glory I ever receive, I point it away from myself and keep in mind it comes from God, then my parents, and then my teammates, and then my coaches. The whole process has kept me humble.”

Updated 01-26-2018

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