Murray will run for Pembroke
By David Williams
Published in Sports on April 28, 2004 2:05 PM
Many times, high school athletes find themselves torn between their high school coaches and those of outside sports organizations such as AAU. In many instances, the athlete is stuck in the middle between two masters with differing goals.
Not so in the case of Rosewood High School's Heather Murray.
Murray, the daughter of Darryl and Kathryn Murray, runs track for the Eagles and also runs for the Goldsboro Track Club. With the coaches of both groups watching out for each other in her training and both coaches taking care to keep Murray as the most important part of the puzzle, the senior has spent the last three years developing her skills and becoming a well-rounded track competitor -- strong enough to accept a track scholarship to UNC Pembroke.
"She's a leader in word and action," said Rosewood girls track coach Daniel Baynes. "I've taught her in class as well, and she's a fine young lady."
At Pembroke, Murray wants to study elementary education.
"I considered going to UNC Wilmington, but when I was accepted at Pembroke they offered me a scholarship," Murray said. "It's smaller, more like high school."
The Braves are members of the Peach Belt Athletic Conference, a Division II league with several strong track programs. Most of the PBAC schools are in South Carolina and Georgia.
Murray has been a conference champion in four different events -- the long jump, the high jump, the 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles. She has competed regionally in all four disciplines and competed at state level in long jump, high jump and the 300 hurdles.
A strong leaper whose personal bests are 15 feet, 6 1/2 inches in the long jump and 31 feet, 7 1/23 inches in the triple jump, Murray is also fast on the asphalt. Her top time in the 100 hurdles is 18.9 seconds, and 52.4 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
Murray's versatility makes her a valuable point-magnet for the Lady Eagles. But for the Goldsboro Track Club, coach Cornielus Warren works Murray on the hurdles alone,
Murray runs the 400 meter hurdles -- the comparable collegiate distance -- for the GTC, and Warren said her running style makes that distance a natural fit.
"She runs the 400 in 58 seconds and the 400 hurdles in 1:04," he said. "It's a more natural race for her."
Warren said Murray had one overriding request as she competed for GTC.
"She said she really wanted to compete for her school," he said. "I didn't want to bother that. So we worked on her jumping technique, which helped her with me and with the school."
Murray has held her own with the best in the eastern United States at summer meets such as the East Coast Invitational at Duke University. Murray was sixth at that meet last summer in the 400 hurdles.
"She's ran against some of the best track athletes in the country," Warren said. "She's ready to run with the athletes at Pembroke right now, but we'll work more. I want her first season to pop."
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