Malibu Sharks cross country runner Tallula Murphree wasn’t feeling her best at the CIF Southern Section Division 5 girls finals race on Nov. 19 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
Instead of singing songs in her head like she normally does during her competitive jaunts, the sophomore simply thought, “I just got to get through this!” And Murphree did. Very successfully.
The teenager finished the 2.93-mile race in 19 minutes and 38.8 seconds, which placed her 12th in a field of 104 high school runners from across Southern California. Murphree had a second-place run of 20:07.0 in the preliminaries on Nov. 11. Murphree finished the CIF competitions as a top-five individual runner and qualified for the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno for the second consecutive season on Nov. 26.
“I was not feeling very well, but I knew that if I wanted to move onto state, I had to run and so I pushed through it,” she said.
At the Fresno running spectacle, Murphree ran a personal-best 19:34.0 in the 5K to place 32nd out of 198 runners.
The strong performance concluded a standout running season for Murphree in which she was named the Citrus Coast League’s Girl Cross Country Runner of the Year. She also won the league’s girls individual title at Lake Casitas in Ventura in 20:12.84 on Nov. 3.
Murphree, a runner since she was in sixth grade, said the cross country season was fun, but also challenging. She had simple keys to success.
“Showing up to run every day and following my coach’s plan,” Murphree said. “Also, eating well was very important.”
Her best performance this season, the runner said, was her final run.
“I believe qualifying for CIF State and dropping over a minute from my time at State for a 5K last year was my biggest accomplishment,” Murphree said.
Murphree had blazing performances throughout Malibu’s campaign. She began the season on Sept. 30 with a first-place finish in the Palos Verdes Invitational’s two-mile run. She finished first at the 41st Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic on Sept. 16 and the CCL XC #2 on Oct. 11. Murphree placed sixth at the Oct. 15 Ventura County Championships. All were three-mile races.
She also had a second-place finish at the 74th Annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 22, another race of 2.93 miles.
Additionally, Murphree, who also plays water polo and is a swimmer, won the first place in the 5K at the Malibu Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Run with a time 0:19:38. Murphree’s brother Ranger was race’s fourth-fastest finishing male runner.
Ranger, who along with Tallula and brother Wiley are triplets, also competed with his sister in the CIF preliminaries. Ranger ran a personal best 17:25.7 in the preliminary race and finished ninth but did not qualify for the finals. The siblings’ teammate, senior Satchel Reid, qualified for the event, but did not run because he was sick.
At the Citrus Coast League finals, where Tallula ran off with the girls crown, Reid finished the boys race in fifth with a time of 17:11.37 and Ranger finished ninth in 17:18.75.
Like his sister, Ranger also began the season by placing first in the two-mile Palos Verdes Invitational run. Additionally, he finished fifth at the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational.
Reid finished second to Ranger in the Palos Verdes Invitational. He finished third at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic and fifth at CCL XC #2.