MERIDEN — Senior Shaelyn Murphy has been a star for Maloney girls track since she took her first jump in her sophomore year.
She’s collected Class L and State Open outdoor championships in her marquee event, the high jump, and is in the midst of her final postseason, which opened Tuesday with the CCC South title for her individually and for the Lady Spartans as a team.
Murphy’s track career is far from over. She signed a National Letter of Intent on Monday afternoon to compete at Division I Quinnipiac.
“I’m really proud of myself and I worked really hard for this,” Murphy said. “I’ve wanted to go to Quinnipiac before I did track. My sister went there and I know a lot about it already. I already know my way around.
“The team wants to make you a better athlete and it feels more like a family than just needing to win all of the time. I didn’t want to go somewhere where it was just super-pressure, but at Quinnipiac they want you to be the best ahtlete you can be.”
Murphy began to get attention from the Bobcats after her standout junior year. She won Class L and the State Open during the outdoor season after placing second in Class L, at the State Open and at the New England Championships during the indoor season.
She broke her own school records at Maloney, both indoor and outdoor, at 5 feet, 6 inches. She initially broke the Maloney mark as a sophomore.
This year, during indoor season, she finished second Class L, sixth at the State Open and 18th at the New Balance Nationals.
“All of our other high jumpers look up to her and want to be like her,” Maloney coach Don Askew said. “They want to be like her and take it to the next level like Shaelyn. She influences in the team in so many different ways with her jumping ability and her education abilitiy. If she can have girls want to be like her, it makes the team that much better.”
Murphy is going to major in Health Sciences at QU.
“It feels good," Murphy said of her decision. “I didn’t think I could go D1, so its nice. My time at Maloney has meant a lot to me and I’m going to miss it. This is where I learned the sport. It started out as a joke and now it’s my whole life.”
Murphy was in the band in her first two years at Maloney before switching to track. She excelled immediately. Her first career jump was a state-qualifying mark.
“We know we can count on Shaelyn’s points, her intensity and her ability,” Askew said. “We know she is going to go out there and give it her best every single time. I would put my money on Shaelyn any day of the week over anyone. She always pulls through and does what she needs to do.”