By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
AUSTIN - Each decathlon event receives Isaac Murphy's full attention and respect.
But, the Texas junior is particularly fond of the 1,500 meters.
"I just like lining up and competing, going head-to-head with guys," Murphy said. "Some of the best moments I've had are with (Texas assistant track) coach Mario (Sategna), and hearing him yelling at me during the 1,500."
There was definitely yelling after Murphy's fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters Thursday. It was one of his eight top-four finishes and the one that clinched the university/college men's decathlon title Thursday at the 85th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers stadium in Austin.
"It's the most amazing feeling in the world. I love being at home and competing," Murphy said. "I couldn't say it was the best (feeling I've every had), but it's definitely a very good feeling."
Murphy, who finished fourth in the event last year, finished with 8,067 total points, holding off UT-Arlington's Romain Martin and Boise State's Kurt Felix.
Murphy trailed Felix by two points after the first five events Wednesday, but placed third in the 110-meter hurdles (14.42 seconds) in the first event Thursday to retake the lead. Martin finished third in the pole and trailed Murphy by just 16 points going into the final event and Felix, who won the javelin, by just 25.
"I felt pretty confident, just going out there having a good time. I felt confident in every event," Murphy said.
Martin finished second with 7,977 points and Felix finished fourth with 7,919 points. Wesley Bray, running attached, finished second with 7,977 points.
Murphy also placed third in the discus (136 feet, 10 inches), fourth in the pole vault (16-3/4) and was 12th in the javelin (171-00 feet) before his finish in the 1,500 meters (4:28.44) on Thursday.
"I like the second half of the race a lot better than the first half," Murphy said. "I knew I had some good coaching and some good training and I was ready to do well and I'm glad I did."
White posts top time
Steven White didn't know how to start in Lane 9, so the North Texas junior started fast.
"Running in Lane 9 is really a hard place because you really don't know how fast you're going because you can't see anybody else," said White, a former Ellison star. "But, it also gives you a slight advantage because you have to push, you don't want anybody to catch you ... You just keep going, no looking back.
"I'm actually kind of glad they put me in Lane 9 because that's usually where I run my best races."
White, who graduated on the same track in a ceremony at the state meet in 2009, won his 400-meter hurdles heat in 50.75 seconds and goes into Saturday's finals with the best qualifying time.
He clipped one of the final hurdles coming into the final straight away allowing South Florida's David Aristil to gain some ground, but the pressure only drove White to dig a little deeper.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw he was coming up," White said. "Whatever I had left, I just gave it on the last straight away and ended up pushing all the way through."
Anderson-Kaapa back on track
After spending his first year-and-a-half at the University of Houston injured, sophomore Dre'Van Anderson-Kaapa was glad to finally have set a personal record in something.
Anderson-Kaapa, a former distance runner at Killeen, ran a personal best 1:51 in the opening 800 meters of the college/university 3,200-meter relay helping the Cougars to a fourth-place finish.
"It's been a lot of mental (work). Because I've been out for so long, everybody else has been getting fast, they're bringing in younger guys that are already fast. It's kind of like I'm becoming old news," Anderson-Kaapa said. "Coming back, these first two races I've had, it's bringing my confidence up, makes me want to get out there and train harder, makes me want to compete harder."
Almost two weeks since setting a personal best in the 1,500 meters at the TCU Invitational, Anderson-Kaapa reset it Thursday, but finished 11th (3:59.13).
"Basically, right now, we're just doing base work trying to get back into shape," Anderson-Kaapa said. "Knowing that I can do this stuff out of shape just gives me that much more confidence."
Hyde anchors A&M's rare 3,200-meter relay
Finishing seventh in the 3,200-meter relay wasn't so much fun, but Texas A&M sophomore middle distance runner Aliese Hyde was still looking forward to running the rare relay.
"It was pretty fun. It's always fun looking toward the Texas Relays because we never get that opportunity to run a 4-by-8 that much in the season," said Hyde, a former Harker Heights standout. "Coming out here and being able to do it with the girls, it's a lot of fun."
When the former Harker Heights standout, running the anchor leg, finally got the baton, she could not improve their finish.