CHESHIRE —All-State and All-New England cross country runner Brendan Murray addressed a room filled with family and friends at Cheshire High School on Thursday afternoon. He wore a navy blue sweater with “Yale” emblazoned across the chest.
That told the story.
Murray, who finished second this year in the Class LL meet and State Open and third in New England, is on his way to Yale after signing his National Letter of Intent in front of the crowd made up family and Cheshire friends, as well as friends from Southington and Avon.
An excited Murray was happier about sharing his day with all of them than the accomplishment itself.
“This is awesome,” Murray said to the crowd. “It means a lot to me that everyone said they would come today when I asked them. I am so grateful for you guys … I thought people would say they were interested and eventually back out, but I think every person I asked came today, which really shows how great of a circle of friends I have. That’s the most important thing.
“Signing is just a bonus at this point. I’m very grateful for the friends I’ve had and the opportunities I’ve been given.”
Murray’s mother Lisa did not expect the turnout for the signing to be as large as it was.
“This is overwhelming,” said Lisa Murray. “This makes me happy that we chose Cheshire, it really does.”
A number of schools showed interest in Murray. He took four official visits: Dartmouth, Georgetown, Villanova and Yale. It was a tough decision for Murray, but he feels confident that Yale is the best fit for him.
“I felt most comfortable with the team atmosphere,” he said. “Academically, it is one of the best schools in the country. Athletically, they have a really young team that seems like it’s going to be built into a really great program. Nothing to discredit the other schools I was looking at, but there was just something about Yale the whole time.”
“Yale was always the big school that was never obtainable by us, or for most people,” said Lisa Murray. “You kind of have to take it in stride. We didn’t get all crazy about it. We took each one, one at a time and it was hard for him to make a decision, but Yale was always number one.”
In signing with Yale, Murray becomes the second Cheshire High School athlete in the Class of 2018 to commit to an Ivy League program. State champion swimmer Elizabeth Boyer, who attended Murray’s signing Thursday, is heading to Harvard.
Murray has yet to decide on a major to study at Yale. He is interested in something in the sciences and says he feels drawn to something in psychology.
“It would be awesome if I could continue to run competitively outside of college,” said Murray. “Obviously, you can’t run forever, so eventually I’ll get a professional job and find a career, but right now I am just excited to experience Yale.”
Fast-forwarding to August 2018: Brendan Murray is no longer home, but moving into his dorm in New Haven. Brendan is probably going to be excited to be on his own, but mom knows she’ll be seeing him soon.
“He’s only going to be 20 minutes away,” said Lisa Murray. “We’ll be in New Haven a lot.”