Athlete Spotlight: Linn-Mar's Ryan Murphy Signs with Arkansas Razorbacks

Ryan Murphy of Linn-Mar High School had his work cut out for him in choosing a University to compete for after his 5th place finish at XC State. Read below to find out what schools it came down to, how he chose Arkansas, and to learn more about him!

What race has been your favorite one to compete in over the course of your high school career?
So far, in High School, my favorite race was probably the mile I ran at the Festival of Miles in St. Louis this past summer.  I loved how loud it was on the track and how much energy there was with an extremely deep field.  Also, last summer, I had the opportunity to run at New Balance Outdoor Nationals which was a great experience, and definitely a learning opportunity, racing against some of the top runners in the country.

Does your high school team have any traditions or pre-race rituals?
Every year, the day we leave for state cross and track, all of the guys wear a dress shirt and tie, with running shorts.  This tradition has been going on since before I was in high school and is always a lot of fun.  The whole school always questions us and its pretty embarrassing but we've been doing it forever so there's no need to change now.  Also, a bunch of the guys always go out for pasta or meet at someone's house the night before meets to eat our carbs and have fun with each other.

What led you to considering Arkansas for your collegiate career? What other schools were you considering?
I became in contact with Coach Bucknam and one of the runners on the team at Arkansas in September, and they have a really big tradition of winning conference titles and qualifying/competing well at the national championships, and it would be a really good experience and honor to be a part of that tradition.  I also really liked how Arkansas has a small cross country team, so there is a lot of attention from the coaches.  My decision came down to Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Tulsa, and Arkansas.  All of the schools I was considering have great programs and have great education.

How did you end up picking Arkansas?
I feel like the training Coach Bucknam has them do is very similar to the training I do right now, and the [transition] would be fairly smooth.  Also, on my visit, the guys on the team were very welcoming and I could definitely see myself being a part of the team and having fun with my teammates.

How did your family and friends respond to your decision to become a Razorback?
My friends and family were all very happy with my decision, and excited to see where I go at Arkansas.  I feel like I had a little bit of pressure to go to Iowa because it is very close and my older brother runs for Iowa, but I feel like I made the best decision and am going somewhere where I will be able to maximize my potential athletically and come out with a lot of options with a degree from Arkansas.

Outside of cross country, what track events are you hoping to focus on in college?
I feel like as a freshman and sophomore I will focus on the 3k and 5k indoor, and outdoor most likely the 5k and 1500m,  but as I mature more and increase my mileage, I would definitely like to run the 10k and possibly the steeple.

Did you go on an official visit? If so, what was that like?
Yes, and I really loved everything about it.  I visited the Sunday-Monday in between regionals and nationals for them, so the coaches were extremely busy with planning everything and preparing for nationals, but they still gave me a lot of attention and took a lot of time showing me around and talking to me which I loved.  I also had a lot of time to hang out with the team and they are all really cool guys and really enjoyed having me on a visit.

What excites you most about becoming a Razorback?
I am very excited to see how far I can take my running and how fast I can get, but mainly, I am excited to be a part of the great tradition they have going and hopefully contribute to what they have.

What else would you like us to know about you?
I am extremely excited for college next year, but right now I am focusing completely on the track season ahead of me.  I hope to break 9:00 in the 3200 this year and hopefully come away with a few State and Drake Relays Titles.

You can see Ryan's high school stats so far on his athlete profile here.