Murdock is bound for Memphis

“Melinda Murdock is one of the greatest competitors and hardest workers I have coached,” declared Bryant cross country and track coach Danny Westbrook. Considering that Westbrook’s been coaching for over 30 years, that’s saying a lot.

Westbrook was speaking Thursday as Murdock, the daughter of Melisa and Steven Murdock, Sr., signed an NCAA Division I National Letter of Intent with the University of Memphis to continue her education and track career at the University of Memphis.

“She is a very unique athlete in that she excels in both distance running as well as sprint and hurdle events,” Westbrook noted.

Consider that she:

  • Is a three-year letterman in cross country and a four-year letterman in track
  • Holds the all-time Arkansas State Record for the 800-meter run in the heptathlon – 2:15.4
  • Holds the Bryant school record for 5K cross country – 19:17
  • Was a member of the Bryant 4 x 100-meter team that holds the school record at 48.7
  • Was a member of the 2013 State Champion 4 x 400-meter relay team
  • Was a Class 7A State Cross Country Top 10 medalist in 2012 and 2013
  • Won 2012 and 2013 Meet of Champions events – 800-meter run, 4 x 100m relay
  • Was named Arkansas All-State 6 times and All-Conference five times
  • Was a Top 5 medalist at the 2013 Arkansas Heptathlon
  • Was named to the Arkansas Cross Country All-Star team three years in a row
  • Finished seventh in the nation in the 800-meter run at the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic National Meet

Along with Memphis, Murdock visited Arkansas State University and Tulsa University.

“I loved both of those too but Memphis — I could tell that’s where I needed to be,” she related. “When I visited, the team and the coaches there were really sincere and nice. The campus was huge. I wanted to go to a big college. The scholarship was awesome. The people there were awesome. Everything. I want to major in Psychology and they have a pretty good Psychology department. I got to look at that.”

Asked when she had the feeling she might be able to earn a scholarship, Murdock said, “Probably my junior year. The times I was running, my dad would tell me, ‘You know you’re running really good times.’ I would keep excelling. I would go to State and I tried AAU and I’d go to the Junior Olympics. I just knew then I could do Division I.”

When she was young, Murdock competed in other sports.

“I did softball and I’d always played basketball and I’d race the boys in the street in my neighborhood,” she recalled. “Softball, I wasn’t the best batter but I knew how to steal bases. So, my coaches would always say that I’d do some kind of running.

“Seventh grade is when I started track,” she continued. “I tried out everything, hurdles and all that, and I just fell in love with it. From there, I stuck to track. I let go of all the other sports and track became my main focus.”

Murdock points to those days when she was playing basketball and racing against the boys in the neighborhood as the seeds for her competitive nature.

“I had to win,” she asserted. “It didn’t matter that I was the only girl. I’ve just always had that competitive edge in anything. Me and my brother (Steven, Jr.) compete in the classroom. Whatever it is, it’s a competition.”

In the classroom, Murdock has maintained at 3.5 grade average her entire high school career and has been awarded an academic scholarship by the Emerging Leaders Program at Memphis. She plans to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology.

In the meantime, she’s got her senior track season beginning soon, a chance to extend that impressive list of accomplishments.

“The University of Memphis is getting a very talented addition to their team,” Westbrook stated. “Her leadership and exemplary work ethic will be greatly missed here at Bryant High School, but we wish her well in her future college career.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!