Holley wrestler Quinton Murphy sets sights high | democratandchronicle.com
When you're as skilled at your craft as Quinton Murphy is on the mat, it might be easy to become complacent. Add in hype from national rankings, Olympic aspirations and a mass influx of daily letters from colleges infatuated with his talents, and keeping focused could be as difficult for him as trying to record a pin on the Holley junior is for his opponents.
But how can contentment be an issue in a family with five children — three boys and two girls — who have all wrestled?
"Our family is super-competitive with each other," said Murphy, a two-time state wrestling champion, Pan-American Youth Olympic gold medalist and fourth-place finisher at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games this past summer.
"We all wrestle around, even my sisters, and beat each other up. Like last year on Thanksgiving when we were supposed to be having a good family dinner, a match broke out around the kitchen table. You always have to be on your game in our house."
That extra practice should help this weekend, which is a microcosm of his mindset. Murphy, who carries a career 197-10 record, is likely to pick up win No.200 at the two-day Pioneer Tournament in Yorkshire.
But he needs Nos. 198 and 199 first.
The 2010 All-Greater Rochester Division II Wrestler of the Year has captured two state titles in the past three seasons. He won as an eighth-grader at 103 pounds and last year at 125 pounds.
In May, the lighthearted Murphy — he sported purple hair at last year's state tournament — represented the U.S. and won the gold in the Pan-American Youth Olympic Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico.
That earned him a trip to Singapore, where he placed fourth in the world.
Within the next year or so, Murphy, who began wrestling in kindergarten, will decide where to attend college. His list of suitors includes Ohio State, Army, Penn State, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Iowa, but he makes sure to quickly glance at their letters and file them away until it's time to narrow it down. Murphy's brother Dillon is a freshman molecular genetics major at Ohio State
"We know it's just getting started," said his dad, Shawn Murphy, who has coached Holley youth wrestling for the past six years. "When the colleges can officially recruit it's going to be crazy."
"Sometimes I just have to remember that I'm just a high school kid," said Murphy. "Every day I'm trying to balance everything; it just seems like I don't have enough time for it all. People expect a lot out of me. I just keep trying to do my best."
Murphy's best has earned him the No. 4 ranking in the country among 135-pound juniors by USA Wrestling Magazine. His talent also makes his ultimate aspiration, to wear the country's colors in the 2012 London Olympics or the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, attainable.
"He's an even-keeled young man and doesn't let things frazzle him too much," said John Grillo, who has coached Holley for 25 years. "Quinton has long-range plans and doesn't let the pressure get him down."
"Singapore ... was almost like a taste of the Olympics," said Murphy. "That's my biggest goal. I have been blessed with a gift and need to make a future for myself."