Photo of W-L's Will Murphy

Will Murphy, left, holds an award he received presented by Washington-Liberty High School head football coach Josh Shapiro during his senior year. (From Washington-Liberty)

Will Murphy is quite happy to be enrolled and taking online classes at Rochester Institute of Technology while he prepares to wrestle for the Division III college team at some point.

Murphy, though, wouldn’t be totally honest if he didn’t admit to being a little unhappy as well because he also isn’t playing college football. The 2020 Washington-Liberty High School graduate, where he was a standout multiple sport athlete, had entertained the idea of maybe playing both sports collegiately.

However, it was the college wrestling situation that worked out best. So the mechanical-engineering major is satisfied, but would be much happier if his freshman year in college was a normal situation.

Murphy isn’t on campus at RIT. He’s taking five online classes from home right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He may get to live on campus in January. The school’s 2020-21 wrestling season has already been canceled.

The program is solid, with the Tigers finishing 8-3 last season and placing fourth in the NCAA regional championships.

“It’s a bummer not to be there. Both of those situations aren’t the best, but I’m trying to make the best of it,” Murphy said. “I’m running and lifting weights a lot to stay in shape.”

Josh Shapiro was Murphy’s head football coach at Washington-Liberty. He believes Murphy will excel in wrestling.

“Will is the kind of kid who works hard all the time,” Shapiro said. “He’s one of my favorite all-time players – hard-nosed. He will do well in college wrestling.”

Murphy was a football, wrestling and outdoor track and field standout in the shot put and discus at Washington-Liberty. He was chosen as the Male High-School Athlete of the Year for 2019-20 by the Better Sports Club of Arlington. 

On the football field in 2019, Murphy was a first-team all-Sun Gazette linebacker, in addition to being the paper’s first-team utility player on offense. He was a first-team all-Liberty District linebacker, a first-team all-purpose player on offense, and was second in the voting for the Defensive Player of the Year.

As for all-region, Murphy was a second-team linebacker and was second-team all-purpose on offense.

In addition, he was chosen as W-L’s Most Valuable Player of the football team in 2019, as well as the school’s top male athlete.

In wrestling for Washington-Liberty as a senior, Murphy won the Liberty District championship at 182 pounds, then placed third in the 6D North Region Tournament and finally fifth at the Class 6 state competition.

“Will had an outstanding senior year in all sports,” Shapiro said. “It was no surprise.”

The spring’s outdoor track and field season was canceled because of the pandemic a few months ago. Murphy was disappointed, because he was looking forward to improving on his 2019 Liberty District championship finishes of 12th place in both the shot put and discus.

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