By RAY QUIROGA
Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS
Despite spending a good amount of time with state champ Daniella Lynn Murchison for this story, it was still hard to determine if the gravity of what she has accomplished last weekend had sunk in yet or if the young Ms. Murchison was just that laidback and cool all of the time.
At one point or another in their career, every athlete at every level imagines what it would be like to be known as the best in his or her game. Most, however, won’t get to that level, while others will sacrifice well into adulthood simply for a shot at the crown. At the age of 16, and only a sophomore, Port Isabel High School track and field standout Daniella Murchison can honestly say she’s simply the best there is when it comes to Class 3A female shot putters.
A week ago Saturday, Daniella recorded a throw of 41-5 in her first attempt, and that held as the best of the day among all her competitors. She also competed is discus but was edged out of third place to finish fourth.
Murchison, who said sports runs in her family’s blood, began participating in track and field in the seventh grade, and it was so evident that she had a talent for the sport that by the time she was in the eighth grade she began practicing with the high school athletes.
“When I was in fifth grade, we had a field day and my coach wanted me to throw the shot put; I didn’t want to, but I did it, and I ended up throwing further than all the boys and all the girls, and that’s when I started to like it,” Murchison recalled.
Along with the Port Isabel program, the state champ also credits summer programs for honing her skills. Interestingly, Murchison’s shot put coach, Johvonne Hernandez-Howard was also a state champ for the Lady Tarpons back in 2001.
Despite having reached the apex of her sport at her level, Murchison said it won’t be hard to remain motivated as she acknowledged the fact that among her goals is to earn a scholarship at either UCLA or Florida, two schools known for their sports programs.
For her more immediate future, Murchison will be attending the junior world trials this summer where, if she places in the top three, she’ll move on to compete in the Ukraine. Also this summer, she will be participating in the AAU Junior Olympics and the UTSA Junior Olympics as well as the State of America Games in Hersey, Pennsylvania.
Daniella and her family are also helping organize a clinic for area youths led by Olympic shot putter Michelle Carter. The throw camp is scheduled for June 8. The Press will publish the details at a later date.
This is the second time this year that Port Isabel High School can boast of having the best athlete in a given sport. Earlier this spring, Tarpon power lifter Jerry Lopez was also crowned a state champion.