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Lake Braddock distance-running star Kate Murphy commits to Oregon

Lake Braddock senior Kate Murphy verbally committed to the University of Oregon on Tuesday. (Doug Kapustin For The Washington Post)

Lake Braddock senior middle-distance runner Kate Murphy on Tuesday announced via Twitter her plans to attend the University of Oregon. The three-time All-Met Athlete of the Year was also considering Virginia and Villanova.

“I took my Oregon official [visit] this past weekend,” Murphy told The Post. “I kind of knew in the back of my head I was leaning towards Oregon. Once I went, it just sealed the deal for me.”

Murphy, 17, joins a dominant Oregon program that has won six women’s indoor NCAA championships since 2010, as well as a women’s outdoor NCAA championship in 2015. The program’s history and familiarity with members of the coaching staff are what ultimately enticed her.

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Murphy, one of the top distance runners in the country, advanced to the women’s 1,500-meter semifinals at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, which was hosted in July on the Oregon campus in Eugene.

With a full indoor and outdoor track season ahead of her, the senior already holds some of the fastest times in high school history, something she said she never would have envisioned just a few years ago. Murphy clocked 4:07.21, the third-fastest prep time in history, to win the 1500 at the Adidas Boost Boston Games in June and qualify for the Olympic trials.

“That was definitely one of my best races ever,” Murphy said with a hint of nostalgia. “That was definitely the big highlight of my season, as well as actually getting to the Olympic trials.”

It was just one of a host of highlights from Murphy’s junior year. She ran the 3,000 in 9:10.51 (fifth all-time) to win the USA Junior National Outdoor Track and Field Championships a week later. At New Balance Nationals Indoor in February, Murphy finished in 4:39.47, the sixth-fastest all-time indoor mile.

Two of the area's top runners take The Post's Eric Goldwein around the track in a stamina-building training session. (Video: The Washington Post)

Murphy also anchored Lake Braddock’s distance medley relay team at the historic Penn Relays in April, passing two runners over the course of the final 1,600 meters to lead the Bruins to victory in 11:36.52, the fourth-fastest time in Penn Relays history. She also anchored the Bruins’ 4×800 relay squad to a win in 8:57.61 (Virginia all-time No. 3) at the 6A North region championship in May.

Not fully content with her achievements to date, Murphy says she is determined to top her previous bests in the coming months and hopes to run in more competitive races this spring to drop her outdoor times further. She has also said she wants to improve her times in cross country and indoor track. With the weight of her college decision off of her shoulders, Murphy will now turn her focus to wrapping up her high school career the way she wants to.

“I’m just relieved to have it all figured out,” Murphy said. “And I’m super excited to go to Oregon next year.”