BY KEN MORSE
Allison Murphy will be heading south this fall and will be a member of the Tampa University track and field team. The Spartans a Division II program that competes in the Sunshine State Conference.
“We are very happy that Ally found a place where she can feel at home,” said Naugy coach Ralph Roper. “I know Tampa University is going to be happy that she chose the Spartans’ program. Not only is Ally a competitive athlete she is the type of athlete that will make a difference to your program. She certainly made a difference to our program in all the time that she has been here.”
Athletes are competitive by nature. Then there are those athletes that beyond the wins and loses can actually make a difference to those around them. Murphy is that kind of athlete.
“I applied to about 10 schools but I have always wanted to go to Tampa University,” said Murphy, who will be studying psychology. “They had more than I ever could have asked for. A new athletic facility, a large coaching staff and a lot of trainers. I was impressed the first time I visited there. I have an aunt down there so family will be close by.”
She has been making a difference ever since her freshman season at Naugatuck, and in the process has helped to make the athletes around her even better.
“If it wasn’t for Cam Jacobs and Ally Murphy I would not be as competitive and successful as I am in the hurdles,” said junior Dan Anderson.
Murphy wasted no time in tutoring Anderson on the finer points of running the hurdles and it’s that kind of selfless effort that is invaluable to a team. She came into the Greyhounds’ program and immediately made a good first impression.
In her freshman season, she helped the indoor team finish fourth at the NVL championship, where she ran to a second place finish in the 1,000 meters and then placed sixth in Class L, earning All-NVL and All-State honors.
During the outdoor season, Murphy landed a pair of second place finishes in the 400 and 800 meters. She played four years of soccer in addition to her exploits on the indoor and outdoor tracks.
“I remember liking the hurdles right off the bat when I first tried it,” said Murphy. “It just gave me more confidence going over the hurdles. I was never a jumper really but the more I did it the more it became my thing.”
Allison left her best for last, helping the indoor team win the NVL in her senior season with first place finishes in the 600 meters and the 300 hurdles along with running in the 4×400 relay team that won Class L and state open championships, and also finished fifth at the New England championship. Murphy earned All-NVL, All-State, All-New England and All-American honors.
“I’m ready to make some noise,” added Murphy, with her ever-present confidence that doesn’t show a hint of being cocky, just being sure of her abilities. “I’m ready to work really hard because at the collegiate level I’m going to have to get even better.”
To be able to get recognized as an All-American is insane. I never thought I would have accomplished what I did in these last four years, but I’ve had great coaches and great teammates. I have a lot of faith in the returning class and I think they will maintain or be even better than we were.”
In her final outdoor season, she helped her team finish as NVL runner-up by winning both the 100 and 300 hurdles in the NVL and Class L. She was second in the 300 hurdles at the state open and finished third at the New England championship. When it came to Tampa, Murphy forced the issue.
“I got a little impatient,” said Murphy. “I went down there and literally knocked on the coaches’ door and pretty much invited myself in and said I’d like to talk about where I fit in on your team.”
You don’t make a better first impression than that. The coach and his new recruit spoke for about an hour on the upcoming season and how she fit into the big picture. Taking that kind of approach speaks volumes as to where Murphy can go on this next platform of athletics.
BY KEN MORSE