Murray runs away with winMt. Pleasant’s top runner finishes more than 30 seconds ahead of competition
Mt. Pleasant’s Logan Murray strides across the line in a strong finish, despite running alone for the last mile of the race.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “Having the fans here definitely helps.”
Murray, Mt. Pleasant’s No. 1 cross-country runner, finished yesterday’s home cross-country meet at McMillan Park in a personal-best time of 16:09, 20 seconds ahead of the next finisher and 31 seconds ahead of the second-place runner for Class AA.
This year was the first time Mt. Pleasant combined the large schools and small schools race, taking advantage of a new chip timing system to increase competition, avoid overlapping races and shorten the meet.
The Mt. Pleasant boys’ coach, Mitch Anderson, had hoped that with other ranked runners from smaller schools in the race, Murray would have some strong competition to push him — and he did, for the first couple miles.
“He just kinds of grinds kids into the ground,” Anderson said.
Murray ran with Mediapolis’ Dillon Timmerman for most of the race, but the Bulldogs’ top harrier started fading around the two-mile mark, unable to match Murray’s pace. Timmerman finished second overall in 16:29, winning the Class A race.
However, Murray says he doesn’t need another runner there to motivate him — he's his own best motivation.
"I run scared to death," Murray said.
The Panther freshman knows the expectation from his teammates, his coach and the Mt. Pleasant fans — that he, the Class 3A No. 16 runner, will cross the finish line first.
That knowledge is enough to keep him going, whether the second-place runner is breathing down his neck or nowhere in sight.
"I know people expect me to win,” Murray said. “And there's probably a little pride there, too."
Murray went undefeated all the way through the state meet as an eighth-grader, but that streak had to come to an end — after winning his first high school varsity race, he took seventh at a big meet in Pella.
The freshman notes that there are big differences between running middle school and high school races.
“Obviously, the distance is different, but the competition is also a whole other level,” Murray said.
Last year, this meet, with its difficult course, seemed like the toughest race he ran.
“This year, we had a big meet at Pella, and that was tougher than this,” Murray said.
The varsity rookie doesn’t let a loss get him down, however; instead, he lets it push him to go even faster.
"I was second last week; I'm always more motivated from a loss," he said. "I'll enjoy this (win) for the night, but refocus tomorrow."
Murray doesn’t have too many distinct personal goals for the year — he says he’d just like to keep improving and help his team to do its best.
"My goal is just to do the best I can — me and the team work hard; they really push me," Murray said. "But I just want to do the best I can, get out there and make some noise."
For full results from the Mt. Pleasant boys’ race, click here.