Prep cross country: Royals’ Micah Murphy has high hopes for state title

Lynnwood Royals’ cross country runner Micah Murphy will be competing at the Wesco League Championships this Saturday, but already has his sights set on a top finish at the WIAA State Cross Country Championship meet in November. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)

The high school cross country season is winding down as area runners head to Lakewood High School for the Wesco League Championships on Saturday, Oct. 26. But Lynnwood’s Micah Murphy already has his sights set a little further down the cross country trail  —  the season-finale WIAA state meet coming up in November — and the senior has high hopes for the year’s final competition. 

“I want to go out there and win it this year; that’s my goal,” Murphy said.

Murphy, a senior on the Royals’ boys cross country team, knows a little about the state championship meet. He qualified for state both as a sophomore and a junior and seems well on track to earn a ticket to the Pasco meet for a third time after his strong finishes at big races earlier this season.

Most recently, Murphy won the boys varsity race at the Edmonds School District Championship meet on Oct. 16; he also posted the 26th fastest time (among 1,245 varsity competitors) at the Oct. 12 Hole-in-the-Wall Invitational and was eighth (among 243 varsity runners) at the Twilight Invitational on Oct. 5.

But it’s the state meet that Murphy gets most excited, calling the event “surreal.”

“There’s nothing like the state meet; nothing, nothing that compares to it,” Murphy explained. “You know (that) everybody out there, they’ve worked hard, they’ve done their best, they’ve ran their district race, they’ve competed at a high level and now are competing at one of the highest levels in high school most (runners) get to compete at.”

After placing 98th in the 3A boys race at state in 2017, Murphy was disappointed with his slight advancement to a 90th place finish last year — “I didn’t run well; I didn’t run well at all in the postseason,” he admitted.

Murphy deduces that he peaked last year in early October, well before the November state meet. This year Murphy believes his top performances are yet to come, due primarily to an injury suffered last spring.

“I actually fractured my ankle in track so I didn’t get to start training until August,” Murphy said. “So that’s going to get me up for a later peak.”

With the “later peak,” Murphy’s expectations are high for Pasco. “I should be right up there with any of the top guys in the state,” he said.

The senior carries with him the hopes of a Lynnwood boys cross country program that has struggled since its heyday in the mid-1990s. Murphy is the top male runner at the school since the Royals’ captured boys cross country state team titles in 1993 and 1994. He is the first runner from Lynnwood to compete at the state championship multiple times in the past 25 years.

As accolades for his success come in, Murphy — the son of a Lynnwood pastor — chooses to treat them with humility, giving credit for his running success to a higher power.

“I ran track and I felt like God gave me a gift, so I was like ‘might as well use it for His glory,’” Murphy concluded.

Prep Cross Country 2019 postseason schedule (Lynnwood Royals)

— at the Wesco League Championships; Saturday, Oct. 26; 10 a.m. at Lakewood High School in Marysville)

— at the District 1 Championships (for those who qualify); Saturday, Nov. 2; 10: a.m. at South Whidbey High School

— at the WIAA State Championships (for those who qualify); Saturday, Nov. 9; 9 a.m. at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco

— By Doug Petrowski

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