Being a sprinter, Travis Murr knows about fast starts.
The one the Manchester University freshman spent seven weeks constructing during the indoor track and field season could be his most impressive to date.
Murr, a Franklin Community High School graduate, transitioned quickly from intriguing prospect to dominant force with a run that produced two school indoor records and won him Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference freshman of the year.
At the HCAC meet in February, Murr participated in two relays for Manchester and was runner-up in the 60- and 200-meter dashes. The Spartans now await the start of their outdoor season, which is March 31 at the Hanover Invitational. It’s here Murr finds himself with a difficult act to follow — his own.
“You never know what you’re going to get with a freshman, but in our program, the faster you buy in, the faster you’re going to see results,” fourth-year Spartans coach Brian Cashdollar said. “Travis bought in almost immediately.
“He has the combination of two things that make him great — his power and competitive nature. Travis will go deep into the well, so to speak, to make sure he’s giving 100 percent.”
A post-high school growth spurt has Murr standing a muscular 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds.
A pre-pharmacy major, he arrived on campus as something of a mystery in track circles after missing his final postseason for the Grizzly Cubs. In the final regular-season meet, a dual competition at Columbus North, he pulled his left hamstring running the 200.
Prior to that, he long-jumped along with running the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay.
In some respects, going from being among the oldest on his team to one of the youngest rejuvenated Murr to accomplishing everything he has at Manchester. This includes watching and learning from teammates such as redshirt junior sprinter Harrison Hollis.
“I feel that my high school career carried over to here, but this has opened my eyes with different ways in how I run,” Murr said. “In college, I feel it’s more technique-based and you break down every part of your races. And the workouts can be more intense than they were in high school.
“Having all new people around me definitely influenced my motivation. I felt I needed to step it up because now I’m the underdog and need to work to be as good as the older members of the team.”
Murr makes it a point to study the work habits of Hollis before and after practices and meets. The Lebanon native participated in five different running events last outdoor season for the Spartans.
Cashdollar likes the way upperclassmen in his program help the younger athletes attempt to maximize their potential.
“We have a lot of good people, and they all make each other better,” Cashdollar said. “And as a person, Travis is one of the kindest, most humble members of the team.”
Below are Travis Murr’s fastest times in the individual races he competed in during the indoor track season:
60 meters;Fred Wilt Invitational (AU);7.02*
200 meters;HCAC Indoor Championship;22.67*
300 meters;Keith Turner Alumni Open;37.04
* – school record