On This Date: Murphy, Coffin Square Off at Frank Keyser

Photo by Craig Amoss

Kate Murphy. Maria Coffin. Running fans in the DMV are certainly familiar with the names of two of the top runners of the decade throughout the area. Murphy dominated the Northern Virginia scene at Lake Braddock High School, piling up the accolades. On the course alone, Murphy captured two 6A state titles, twice winning the team nationals Southeast title and three times qualifying for team nationals (where she finished 33rd or better all three times). Meanwhile, Coffin was similarly dominant in Maryland at Annapolis High School; she also won two 4A state titles, set the Hereford course record in 2016 and twice qualified for Foot Locker Nationals (she placed tenth as a senior in 2016).

On October 15, 2016, their two legendary paths crossed for the only time on the cross country course (Murphy always competed at team nationals while Coffin ran at Footlocker nationals). On a beautiful day at the Frank Keyser Invitational in Boonsboro, the two attacked the three-mile course from the gun, separating even from eventual fellow Foot Locker Nationals qualifier Julien Webster. Murphy would end up pulling away to further an undefeated streak during her senior season that would extend all the way until the final race at nationals. Coffin, meanwhile, wasn't far behind, finishing in 17:10 (the second-fastest three-mile time of the decade by a Maryland girl, behind only Hannah Oneda). It would be the only race she would lose in either her junior or senior cross country seasons on Maryland soil.