Saturday, November 28, 2015         


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Pierce Murphy

By Paul Honda


* Island School * Track, cross country * GPA: 3.64 * College choice: Colorado


It’s the fury. It didn’t help that hardly a soul had heard of Island School just a few years ago, but it probably didn’t hurt Pierce Murphy to know that strangers could only shrug their shoulders.

Island School? They have a runner? Are they doubting a kid they never heard of? They wouldn’t, not much longer.

Pierce Murphy became, without a doubt, one of the most voracious, primal runners in Hawaii high school long-distance track and field history.

“My coach (Basil Scott) says I’m real energy-efficient,” he said.

To see Pierce close out a final turn is like nothing else. When he is in view of the finish, something takes hold, a fierce force of nature that turns him into an aggressive, borderline violent athlete, out to crush the final 100 meters.

“That’s just in my plan every race, I’ll go all out. I guess it’s mental,” he said, recalling the state championships. “I remember thinking, it’s states. It’s my last race.”

Murphy knows no other way. It may not have mattered that the multiple-gold medalist set Kauai Interscholastic Federation records in the 800-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs as a sophomore, or that he broke the 1,500 and 3,000 again as a junior. He probably didn’t think twice about defending the 1,500 and 3,000 titles at this spring’s state track and field championships, setting a mark in the 3,000.

“When we were at states, it’s just me and our high jumper, the only kids from our school. We’re a small school and I’m glad I came out of a small school and did well,” he said.

When it’s done and the fury is gone, he’s as quiet as a bookworm. His offseasons have never been quiet, running for the cross country team and finishing second in the state as a junior and third as a senior.

He coaches the Under-10 and Under-12 girls soccer teams in the HYSA, and he’s a summer volunteer in the Junior Lifeguard program in Hanalei.

Pierce has a 3.64 GPA and will run track and cross country at the University of Colorado for coach Mark Wetmore.

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