By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel High’s Daniela Murchison was golden again at last week’s UIL State High School Track and Field Meet in Austin. Competing in both the discus and shot put, Murchison won her third consecutive state title in the latter event at a rainy Mike Myers Stadium on Friday.
Murchison won the shot put competition with a throw of 44 feet 1 inch and, just as in last year’s state meet, she got her best distance on her first attempt.
“I knew I had a good throw (first attempt), so I was really relaxed,” Murchison said Monday. “I was really trying to hit the state record (final attempt). I should have just tried to PR (personal record).” Murchison’s best distance in the shot put is 46-01.5, which she got at Weslaco’s Meet of Champs in March. The Class 4A (then 3A) state meet record of 48-11.5 was set in 1994 by Alicia Thompson of Big Lake Reagan County.
Throwers at the state meet are allowed six attempts, which are separated into two rounds of three attempts each. In order, on her final five attempts, Murchison had distances of 41-00, 41-02 ¾, 42-06 ½, 43-00, and 41-11 ½.
“It was really exciting for her and for us,” said head Lady Tarpon track coach, Julie Breedlove. “She got the winning throw on her first attempt and did what she had to do.”
Her closest competition came from Yoakum’s Celine Markert, who tossed the heavy ball 43 feet 2 ¾ inches on her third attempt, and won the silver medal for second place. Markert also won a third straight state title when she was awarded the gold medal in the discus event with a throw of 149-10. Markert’s final attempt in the shot put was 42-08 ¾.
Murchison placed sixth in the discus competition with a distance of 120-10 on her first attempt. The discus event went off in the morning, followed by the shot put late Friday afternoon.
The weather came up rainy in the morning and conditions were not favorable for record distances in the discus. “It was raining and the ring was real slippery,” Coach Breedlove told the Press this week. “A lot of the girls were having a hard time getting their footing.”
Murchison made all of her attempts but slipped on her final try. “It was really hard in the discus because of the water. I was really cautious through all of my attempts, and on my last attempt I really went for it and I fell. It was so slippery.” Murchison came down on one knee but was not injured. “It hurt a little but I was fine.”
“On the last (attempt) she wanted to get it out there and … that’s when she slipped a little,” Breedlove said. “The shot put was the main thing we were going after.”
Murchison got the bronze medal in the discus at last year’s state meet with a distance of 128-03.
With the shot put competition not scheduled to start until 4 p.m. that afternoon, there was plenty of time for a lunch break. “She threw discus in the morning,” Murchison’s throwing coach, Johnny Galvan, said Monday. “We went to lunch and she was ready to go, champing at the bit.”
The rain had stopped but wet conditions still prevailed. “In the afternoon the field was still a little bit wet from the morning rains,” Galvan said. “The footing wasn’t really good, but nothing like the morning. The morning was bad.”
Murchison described the winning moment after Markert made her final attempt; “Every time Celine threw, her parents would freak out and clap. I really don’t watch – I was watching my mom. And when I didn’t hear the clapping, and I saw her parents just sitting there, I knew I had won.”
“I was really happy, and I was kinda’ sad at the same time because it was my last time throwing as a Tarpon. Like, wow, it’s all over. It was a bittersweet moment,” she said.
It was a competitors’ state meet reunion for Murchison and Markert and Murchison described the friendly camaraderie between them when it was all over. “We were about to get on the medal stand; we were talking about colleges, where she was going and where I was going, prom and graduation.”
Murchison, a senior, will be attending and competing for Southern Methodist University next fall. Markert will attend Texas A&M University at College Station.
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