SERGEANT BLUFF — Max Murphy received an unexpected note during the school day on Monday.
It was written by an admiring eighth grader who wanted Murphy to break the school record in the 110-meter hurdles.
Murphy finally achieved that goal last Friday at the Class 3A-District 7 meet on the Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School track.
The eighth-grader who wrote him that note?
Well, it was Murphy back in 2015 when he wrote to himself how much he wanted that school record that stood for over three decades. Murphy forgot that he wrote the note to himself.
Murphy ran a time of 14.63 seconds, which is one-hundredth of a second quicker than the previous school record.
“I thought it was really cute that I’ve been thinking about the school record for that long,” Murphy said. “Just to break it finally meant so much. I must’ve thought something was clicking. I put enough work in to get the record.”
Murphy’s school-breaking run earned him this week’s Journal Metro Athlete of the Week. The Warriors senior will compete in the 110- and 400-meter hurdle races as well as the shuttle hurdle relay this week at the Iowa high school state meet that starts Thursday in Des Moines.
It will be Murphy’s third time competing at the state meet.
Back to the note, the seniors are done with school and the state qualifiers leave for Des Moines on Wednesday. So, as a farewell gift, the school gave Murphy the self-addressed letter to remind him of the goal he had been working on for more than four years.
“It was interesting, because I didn’t think I was that knowledgeable about hurdles even back then,” Murphy said. “I didn’t think I wanted to break it that bad in eighth grade, so I guess I did.”
Murphy smiled when he saw the note that he wrote four years before. He was in awe that even as an eighth-grader, Murphy still wanted his name on the wall of school records.
“I just love looking at them,” Murphy said. “I like knowing records of different events.”
Warriors coach Monte Larsen is okay with Murphy setting big goals and knowing where he sits among school and state rankings.
“There’s a lot of kids who just go out and they run, but they don’t really know times, and they don’t really know times,” Larsen said. “But, Max is really smart with that. I didn’t know it was his goal since eighth grade, but that doesn’t surprise me one bit.”
The dream of breaking the school record finally came into view for Murphy after his first state meet appearance two years ago.
He ran a 15.9-second 110 race in 2017, and he knew there was room for improvement. Murphy was growing into his body, and just had a growth spurt up to 6-foot-3.
“It was a good experience,” Murphy said. “It helped me get into Drake. Obviously, that’s a big stadium with a lot of people looking at you. It’s a nervewracking experience, but it helped build thicker skin to build into that.”
As Murphy prepares for his final track meet in an SB-L uniform, he has his sights set on one more record: The shuttle hurdle relay record.
Murphy will be teaming up with Matthew Hansen, Nate Verros and Austin Freiberg to compete in the shuttle hurdle preliminaries at 2:20 p.m. Thursday. The alternates are Nolan McGregor and Cade Gill.
The Warriors posted a state-qualifying time of 60.30 seconds, just .05 seconds behind state-leader Carlisle.
The fastest time they’ve ran is a 59.4, and the school record, according to Murphy, is 58.6.
“I think we have a great chance of getting it,” Murphy said.
Caleb Weber, Sioux City North -- The sophomore won all three of his matches last Wednesday at West Des Moines Valley to advance to the state tournament in singles play.
Paola Gomez, South Sioux City -- The senior advances to the state tournament and will compete in Class B No. 1 singles, which starts on Thursday.