Ben Murphy reached two of his three goals in the Division III regional boys track and field meet May 23 at Fairfield Union.
The Grandview Heights High School senior finished fourth in the pole vault to qualify for his first state meet, and his effort of 12 feet also exceeded his previous top performance by six inches. Now, he wants to out-vault his father.
Tim Murphy graduated from Bradford (Pennsylvania) in 1983 and had a top vault of 12-0 as a senior. Ben Murphy will try to better that mark in the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.
"My dad's (personal record) was also 12 feet, so after I cleared it I told him, 'I'm coming for you old man,' " Murphy said. "There was never a point in my life that I thought I could make it to state. Since I started vaulting as a sophomore, my whole goal was to get to state, but I never thought it would happen. I was ninth (11-0) when I was here (at regional) last year, but now I'm getting out."
Murphy said he had self-doubts while warming up, but gained confidence as the event progressed. He needed three tries to clear 11-6 and two to clear 11-9 but went over the bar on his first try at 12-0.
"I think it was all in my head," he said of clearing 12-0. "I could do it all along. I had to put a different picture in my head.
"Coach (Brian Schoch) said at the beginning of the season that there was a voice inside my head telling me that I couldn't do it, but I had to get that out of my head. I was able to do that despite not thinking I was going to make it out when (the regional meet) started."
Tim Murphy said his son's biggest strength is consistency and that quality helped him advance to state.
"Pole-vaulting is all about timing, and on any given day you can beat the competition," Tim Murphy said. "He commented to me that he saw the other vaulters and that he didn't have a chance. I told him that any given day, you can win.
"Ben started vaulting as a sophomore and he is so consistent for it only being his third season. That helped him today."
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state. The regional meet concluded May 25.
Also advancing to state from the first day of regional was the boys 3,200-meter relay of Eli Evans, Chris Miller, Eli Hall and Liam Kerr. The relay placed third in a season-best 8 minutes 16.36 seconds.
They finished behind Worthington Christian (8:07.52) and Columbus Academy (8:09.97), the same order as the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 8 and 11 at London.
"We see Academy and Worthington Christian in our league meet, so we knew how fast it would be. We were pushed a couple weeks ago," Schoch said.
"They did a great job. It was their fastest time of the year and everyone just went out and did their job. All four of them competed and did exactly what we needed to do to get through."
Evans set the tone by jumping out to a lead after his two opening laps.
"I definitely went out pretty fast and I was dying coming down the last 100 (meters)," he said. "I thought I did what I needed to do, get out early and try to hold on after that."
Miller still held the lead after the second leg.
"We knew what we needed to do today," he said. "We're hungry to get back to state and get on the podium."
Last season at state, the same four runners finished ninth (8:13.67), one spot from the awards podium and earning all-state honors.
"We lived to survive another day," Hall said. "I know we have an 8:10 in us. We need to get the mentality needed for state."
Schoch would not be shocked to see his runners receive medals at state.
"Everyone has to run their best," he said. "They just missed it last year and I know they can put together the kind of performance needed to have a shot."
For the girls team at regional May 23, senior Kacey Murphy and sophomore Liza DeVere competed in the high jump but did not advance. DeVere tied for 11th (4-10) and Murphy was 16th after not clearing the initial height of 4-10.