Senior shines both on the track and in the classroom

Catherine Conrow

After finishing 28th out of 200 runners in the Nike Cross Nationals meet on Dec. 3, the most competitive high school cross country race in the nation, senior Glennis Murphy was not pleased.

“I wasn’t really happy with my results; it was just mediocre,” Murphy said. “I wanted to do a lot better but I just didn’t have a good race.”

Murphy said that the Nike Cross Nationals course was “a complete mudpit,” so it was difficult for her to focus while constantly trying not to fall in the mud.


“I would start getting momentum and then I would hit a patch of mud and just lose that momentum,” Murphy said. “Half the race I was just worried about staying on my feet.”

As someone who has consistently placed in the top groups of runners in nearly every race in which she’s run, including winning first place in this year’s CIF State Cross Country Championships for DIII schools, Murphy has come to have very high expectations for herself.

Last year, Murphy placed fifth in the CIF State Cross Country Championships for Division II schools, and sixth at the Foot Locker Regional Cross Country Championships West Regional meet against runners from 12 states. She also broke the Marin County record in the mile her sophomore year in track.

After placing in the top ten at the regional cross country meet last year, Murphy advanced to the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship meet where she placed 21st out 40 girls from across the nation.

Murphy will have the opportunity to continue running at the highest collegiate level next fall on Dartmouth’s DI cross country team.

As an NCS scholar athlete with a 4.33 academic weighted GPA, Murphy recently committed to the Ivy League college for its renowned academic programs and supportive team environment.

According to Murphy, a contributing factor in her decision was the fact that Dartmouth runners competed in the Rio Olympics this past summer, a future goal of Murphy’s.

As of now, Murphy plans to major in bioengineering, an interest that has developed since taking Honors Biomedical Science at Redwood.

“I’m so inspired to go to school and run at the highest level, and maybe, dream big and compete at [the National Collegiate Athletic Association] meet. But I’m also excited to be a crazy, mad scientist and get my MD-PhD,” Murphy said.

Murphy believes that the same perseverance needed for running is what has allowed her to do so well in school.

“The type of personality that you need to have for running requires the same focus and meticulous attitude that I apply to school,” Murphy said.

Although Murphy has been juggling college visits and copious amounts of homework in her challenging courses this semester, her times have continued to improve.

In October, Murphy beat her personal record at the prestigious Stanford Invitational with a 5K time of 17 minutes, 38 seconds; 40 seconds faster than her previous best time.

Murphy attributes her fast times to her strong work ethic and her dedication to the sport, practicing every day during the school year and over the summer, with only two-week breaks between cross country and track seasons.

“Glennis is one of those people who drives everyone around her to be better because she is so motivated and her work ethic is insane,” said cross country co-captain junior Gillian Wagner, who finished second in the state meet behind Murphy. “She shows up every day, ready to put in the work that she knows will make her better.”

Murphy’s cross country and track coach, Laura Schmitt echoed Wagner’s admiration for Murphy.

“Glennis has the ability to work in cross country and track to be the absolute best athlete that she can be. That said, she also works as hard as she can in the classroom, and she also works to be a nurturer on the team and she’s successful at it clearly,” Schmitt said.

According to Murphy, even if she wasn’t a particularly good runner, she would still love the sport.

“[Running] is one of the most pure forms of competition, which I love. Before I began running freshman year, I was really self-conscious because I was short and skinny and had big feet,” Murphy said. “I realized that I have a purpose for my body. I am strong and fit and my skinny arms and muscle-y legs push me to go faster.”

Since the first week of freshman year, Murphy knew she wanted to run for the rest of her high school career.

“My first week of freshman year I decided that I wanted to run on the varsity team and that I would do whatever I can to be on varsity so [co-captain Annie Fogarty and I] ran hard everyday until we were on varsity,” Murphy said.

Since freshman year, Murphy has been one of Redwood’s top runners and has since become a leader on the team, according to Schmitt.

“Her freshman year, while she was one of our top runners, she didn’t need to be a leader because freshmen are too young. So she would run but she would model [the older team captains] accidently, just by being who she is,” Schmitt said. “She models the characteristics that as a coach and mentor you want someone to have.”

Schmitt said that she knew Murphy would become a top runner at the national level after watching her respond so well to new race situations beginning her freshman year.

“Everyone time we would put her in a new race situation, her response in these races would be incredible. I knew factually that she would be breaking the county record and I knew that she was going to be a Foot Locker National finalist,” Schmitt said. “There are very few athlete that I say this about: she is a podium athlete for sure [at the] state level, NCAA level and post-college, no question.”