By Rob Kiser
COVINGTON — For Covington senior Jett Murphy, it was the final step in realizing a dream.
The son of Barry and LeAnne Murphy signed a letter of intent recently to continue his pole vaulting career at Youngstown State University.
”It is a really big deal for me (to sign with Youngstown State), because it is something that had always been a dream of mine,” Murphy said. “It is definitely a lot of pressure (making the college choice) so, it is good to have the decision made. It frees me up for everything else, it is like a weight off my shoulders.”
Covington boys track and field coach Kyle Moore was equally happy for Murphy.
“As you know, we have had some athletes over the last six or seven years, who came out worked really hard and had some big accomplishments,” Moore said. “They are an inspiration to their teammates and Jett (Murphy) and Reyna (Horner) are two of those people.”
Murphy said the decision to go to Youngstown State was an easy one. He will join a successful program under Brian Gorby and pole vault coach Rick Penniman.
“I liked everything about Youngstown State,” Murphy said. “It is a Division I program, they have great coaches and great athletes and it is a chance to go up against great competition. They have great facilities.”
Moore said Youngstown State was a great choice.
“From what I know about Youngstown State, yes,” Moore said. “I was happy for him (Jett Murphy), impressed, excited — all those things.”
Murphy was a highly touted vaulter in junior high, before missing his freshman season after an ACL injury in football.
“He did a little bit of running for us as a freshman, but he was still wearing a big brace,” Moore said.
It didn’t take him long to make an impact as a sophomore.
Murphy placed fourth at state in the pole vault as a sophomore with a then school record vault of 14-feet, 8 inches and then last season as a junior he broke his own school record with a height of 14-10” to place third at state.
“The thing about Jett (Murphy) is has always been his best at the biggest meets,” Moore said. “He responds to pressure situations really well. He has vaulted his best in the biggest meets.”
Moore credits Newton Nick Rhoades coach for his success as well.
“Jett (Murphy) works with a lot of different guys,” Moore said. “At least locally, the guy is Nick Rhoades, the Newton coach. He knows how to put just the right amount of emphasis on everything and get the most out of him.”
Murphy has earned several other honors throughout his career at the league, district and regional levels and hopes to earn more hardware this upcoming season as a senior.
“Definitely,” Murphy said. “I want to win a state championship and get up in the 15s (clear 15-feet).”
Moore believes those are realistic goals.
“I think those are good goals for him,” Moore said about Murphy, who plays basketball in the winter. “He has talked about doing a little bit of indoor in the winter and he has always been a hard worker.”
Murphy, who holds a 3.126 GPA at Covington, plans on majoring in Exercise Science at Youngstown State.
“It was always a dream (to be able to pole vault in college),” Murphy said. “It is something I always hoped I would be able to do.”
Now, Murphy can focus on soaring to new heights — after realizing a longtime dream.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.