By Dan Guttenplan
---- — Taelour Murphy appears to have found her signature event on the track.
The UMass Lowell sophomore set a school record in the 200 meters (24.10) Saturday at the Princeton University Larry Ellis Invitational. Murphy’s time ranks her 12th on the latest NCAA Division 2 list. She broke the previous school record of 24.15 set by UMass Lowell Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Jim Croft in 2001.
After specializing in the 100 meters at Triton Regional High from 2008 to 2011, Murphy seemed to make a transition to lengthier sprint events this winter, when she was part of a UMass Lowell school record-setting 4x400 relay team. As a senior at Triton in 2011, Murphy was a high school state champion in the 100 meters.
Now, it appears as if the 200 will be Murphy’s marquee event, after moving onto the national honor roll of top times for NCAA Division 2.
In Saturday’s invitational in New Jersey, which included NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 schools, Murphy placed third overall behind Celina Emerson (24.05) of Connecticut and La’Tazah Coleman (23.87) of Rider College.
It is the second school record Murphy has broken in the last two months. In late February, she ran the second leg on the school’s record-setting 4x400 meter relay at the BU Terrier Invitational. Her split of 55.8 seconds contributed to a relay that set a school record and qualified for NCAA Division 2 National Championships.
Murphy has trained under UMass Lowell coach Mike Ekstrand since the start of last indoor track season. She said her high school commitment at Triton pales in comparison to Ekstrand’s demands.
“In high school, it’s not like a full-time program,” Murphy said. “In college, it’s full time. It feels like a second job, but I love it. In high school, it’s geared toward team points. You do everything for the team, and it’s great. In college, it’s mostly invitational meets rather than dual meets, so the goal is to qualify for conference championships, qualify for New Englands and qualify for Nationals.”