As a teenager, summer time is supposed to mean hanging out with friends, getting a good sun tan and late nights without many cares.
Lindsey Murray's summer sort of resembles that mantra. The Harrisburg High School senior to be is a modern day energizer bunny with her non-stop schedule that includes time with friends, whether it be on the basketball court or at a speech camp. Her afternoon track sessions give her a desired sun burn, while she spends her nights in a kiddie pool filled with ice to recover from her day.
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for Murray will come in the form of next Friday's USA Junior Olympics at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.
Murray qualified for the event — only one of two from southern Illinois — by clearing 11-feet-9 in the pole vault.
Off the heels of a fourth place finish at the Illinois High School Athletic Association State Track & Field meet in Charleston where she jumped 11-foot-6, Murray says her mindset is really no different now than it was then.
"Are the stakes a little bit higher? I don't know." Murray said. "No matter what kind of competition it is, I always try to do better."
Heading into next week's USA Jr. Olympics, Murray set a new personal record with a jump of 12-foot-4 at the Bell Camp in Arkansas.
For Murray the increased seven inches for her PR is a sign that things are starting to fall into place.
"I think if I start getting stuff straight I can be there," Murray added. "That's the hard part. If you want to be good, you have to put time into it. I'm having fun, I'm just doing it in my own way."
Murray's day will include a few hours of weight lifting, followed by an hour-plus of vaulting and an hour of drills nearly every day.
It's the sacrifice and dedication Murray knows in the end will be all worth it.
"I honestly never thought I would have gotten this far," she said. "but for me, all I've ever wanted is to just do better than I did the last time."
Murray has made herself a nice home at Taylor Field in preparation for North Carolina in recent weeks. The added PR in Arkansas was a big confidence booster.
"If one thing is holding me back, it's getting upside down," Murray said. "I'm still not there yet, but I'm getting closer. I'm starting to shoot up more and even that's not close to decent, but it's getting there."
In anticipation of her trip to North Carolina, local area business have pitched to help out Murray with expenses like Dream Baskets and Jim Hayes. Recently, the Sons of American Legion presented Murray with a check.
Page 2 of 2 - The support Murray has received from the community isn't just a blessing to her, but to her family as well, who will also be making the trip.
"Bascially all of Harrisburg has been behind me, supporting me," Murray said. "Even people I don't know, they might even know me and have just heard about the event. "More so, my family has done so much. They've done everything and do everything in the world for me. I feel very blessed."
Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.