Hempfield’s Peyton Murray gives dad a special gift, a gold medal in PIAA discus

Saturday, May 27, 2023 | 4:36 PM

SHIPPENSBURG — Father’s Day isn’t until June 18, but Peyton Murray gave his dad and coach the best present ever.

The Hempfield junior threw a personal record of 185 feet, 9 inches to win the Class 3A discus Saturday at the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium.

Murray is the fifth boy thrower

from Hempfield to win PIAA gold. He joins Weston Banks, Max Adams, Dan Norris and Hayden Fox. Five girl throwers also have won titles, including Liz Tapper, who won her second PIAA shot put title Friday.

“My dad told me to win it on my first throw, and I did that, and then I went further on my second throw so I gave him what he wanted and I got what I wanted, a gold medal,” Murray said. “It’s really special, the bond we have. He’s probably a top-five coach in the country and definitely the best coach in Pennsylvania. And he’s a great dad, too.”

Murray said he had a great week of practice and came to the state meet brimming with confidence.

After a good performance in the shot put on Day 1 — he placed second — Murray used that to his advantage.

“It’s the best gift I ever got,” Dave Murray said about his son’s victory. “I couldn’t have been more proud of both of their efforts. I was so happy that Liz (Tapper) won the state title in the shot put. We never talked about it, but I saw her foot a couple days ago, and it’s purple. She worked through it, but she missed a lot of lifting. I was super proud of her for winning a gold and silver.

“And for Peyton to win a gold,” coach Murray added with pause, “I’m speechless.”

Dave Murray said his son threw well all week leading into the state meet, and he expected a big throw. Peyton Murray said he next will compete in the New Balance Nationals on June 15-18 at Penn’s Franklin Field.

“I hope to get 190 (feet) there,” Murray said. “I’m going on vacation, and once I get back I’ll get back to work.

“I’m more consistent now, and I practice more. I probably would have hit 170 last year if I wouldn’t have got hurt. Staying healthy is the (key).”

Penn-Trafford junior Matt Sarnowski finished third with a personal-best throw of 175-4. Kiski Area senior Jack Crider placed eighth with a throw of 158-8.

Sarnowski said he can’t wait to compete against Murray next season.

“It was a good year definitely,” Sarnowski said. “Ending last year and not even qualifying for states makes me very happy this year. I came out, and I had fire from last year. I really wanted to get here.”

Tapper, a senior, came up short in her attempt to become her school’s first thrower, male or female, to be a two-time champion in two events.

After winning her second Class 3A shot put title Friday, Tapper finished second in the discus during Day 2 with a throw of 155-8. Warwick senior Ella Lucas won the event with a personal record of 163-4.

Tapper, a Michigan commit, took the disappointment well.

“I had my moment with Coach Murray,” Tapper said. “I’m happy with what happened. Ella had a career day and I’m happy for her. I’m not unhappy with 155.”

Tapper was hampered by a Lisfranc injury that delayed the start of the season. She didn’t use the foot as an excuse but did feel she might have challenged the state record if she had been healthy. She reached 164-9 last season.

“I was close last year,” Tapper said. “I feel it would have been a lot easier.”

She plans to take a few weeks off and head to the Outer Banks for a vacation.

Franklin Regional freshman Monroe Law finished fifth in the Class 3A 100-meter dash. Her time was 12.22 seconds in the final. Spring Grove junior Laila Campbell won her third PIAA 100-meter title with a time of 11.56.

Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Eva Denis placed seventh in the Class 2A 100-meter dash in 12.50. Susquehanna Community senior Tatum Norris won the race, running a 12.19. Avonworth/Northgate junior Hayzes Robinson placed fourth in 12.31, and Carlynton sophomore Jordan Carter placed fifth in 12.49.

Mt. Pleasant senior Tiffany Zelmore earned her second medal of the weekend when she finished sixth in the 2A girls shot put with a throw of 36-11 ¼. She edged WPIAL champion Mikayla Anderson of Beaver Falls, who finished seventh (36-10 ¼).

Richland (District 6) junior Sasha Garnett won with a throw of 45-5 ¾ to edge returning champion Justley Sharp of Homer-Center, who had a throw of 44-7 ½, and River Valley junior Emily Jackson’s 39-11 ¾.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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