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Murray is Athlete of the Year

R-C News-Herald

AHOSKIE n She’s followed in the footsteps in so many ways.

Jo Revelle Murray played three sports at Ridgecroft, just like Kathryn Vick. She was honored as one of the best in all three by selection to All-Roanoke-Chowan teams, just like Vick. She was a scholar-athlete just like Vick.

Those similarities continued Friday when Murray was named Kathryn Vick Female Athlete of the Year by the sports staff of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

“It is ironic that Jo Revelle’s career has so closely followed Kathryn’s,” said Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Sports Editor Thadd White. “Kathryn was the exact type of student-athlete we were looking for when she was named the first recipient of this award. Jo Revelle is certainly cut from the same mold and deserves to follow Kathryn by being named the region’s best.”

A three-sport athlete for her entire prep career, Murray was named to the All-Roanoke-Chowan Team in volleyball, basketball and soccer.

Volleyball

The one sport in which Murray was the most outstanding was volleyball, where she was named Player of the Year for the All-Roanoke-Chowan Volleyball Team.

“Jo is a very special player,” Lawrence Academy Volleyball Coach Dr. Ed Clouse said. “She motivates her whole team. She made everyone around her a better player.”

In fact, during Murray’s varsity career, she was named three times to the All-Roanoke-Chowan Team. She was chosen as Best Setter for 2004 and 2005 before being named Player of the Year in 2006.

If anyone had the opportunity to see Murray’s growth it was her own coach, Nancy Brittenham.

“She’s an excellent setter and this year she developed to be able to back set,” Brittenham said. “It’s not an easy position because you have to set certain people certain ways.

“Jo is a team leader and she’s just easy to coach,” Brittenham added. “She is never satisfied. She’s always trying to get better. She sets the bar a little higher each time.”

Murray also said she learned from her coach.

“She was a good coach,” Murray said. “She would be there with us and took time out in the summer to go to camp with us.”

It was in volleyball that Murray first crossed paths with Vick as an athlete.

“Kathryn took me under her wing and helped me when I was in the seventh grade,” Murray said. “I always said I wanted to be like her.”

Volleyball was also a successful endeavor for Murray as she was part of three consecutive Lady Ram teams to receive bids to the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association state tournament.

Basketball

Murray also said she enjoyed her career on the basketball floor of Ridgecroft School as she was part of a Tarheel Independent Conference championship and three appearances in the NCISAA Final Four.

“I’m glad I got to experience playing basketball,” she said. “I’m going to miss it.”

Ridgecroft School Head Basketball Coach Doug Cobbs called Murray an important part of his team.

“She’s been an integral part of our team since her sophomore year,” he said. “She is an excellent defensive player, a good outside shooter and, as our point guard, she spread the ball around unselfishly.”

Murray said she would remember the game her senior season against Cape Fear Christian.

“We were down by 30 and came back to get within 10 points,” she said. “After that, we were able to have more intense practices and get ready for the rest of the season.”

Murray also said she would miss her basketball coach.

“I will miss Coach Cobbs,” she smiled, “not the yelling, but I’ll miss him as a coach.”

During her career on the hardwood, Murray was named Honorable Mention All-Roanoke-Chowan as a junior and Second Team All-Roanoke-Chowan as a senior.

Soccer

Despite playing for three coaches in five years, Murray found a niche in soccer. She almost didn’t.

“Soccer was never really my favorite,” she said. “In fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to keep playing until Coach (Aaron) Martin came. He has been a really good coach.

“I’m glad I had the chance to play for him,” she added.

Martin said Murray had made his job easier as a coach.

“I wish I had more players like her,” Martin said. “I have good players and good young ladies. Jo Revelle is top notch.”

Martin said he was pleased with Murray’s work ethic and the way she would attempt to do whatever was asked of her.

“If I asked her to do something she was uncomfortable with, she would try it and usually succeed at a high level,” he insisted.

Murray was named three times to the All-Roanoke-Chowan Soccer Team, including her senior season.

Character

One of the reasons Murray was so popular among her coaches and those who competed against her was her character.

“Perhaps this is a clich\u00E9, but there really are not enough good things to say about Jo Revelle,” Martin said. “She is bright, a great athlete and just an all-around good person. She is going to be successful at whatever she does in life.”

In addition to being a three-sport athlete at Ridgecroft, Murray also graduated as Salutatorian of her class.

Her efforts were obvious to Ridgecroft School Headmaster Elton Winslow.

“I think Jo Revelle is an outstanding young lady,” Winslow said. “She worked awfully hard in the classroom and awfully hard on the athletic fields and in the gym.

“She has been a tremendous asset during the last four years and we’re certainly going to miss her,” Winslow added.

The Head of School was also sure of Murray’s future.

“She is a champion in every area of her life,” Winslow said. “She is an outstanding young lady. She has a great attitude and always has a smile on her face. That’s a great combination.”

Cobbs likened Murray to both Vick and another Female Athlete of the Year in Sarah Beth Greene.

“I think all those girls fed off one another,” he said. “Kathryn was Jo Revelle’s role model and her game was modeled after that. She gave everything she had when she was on the floor.”

Success

During Murray’s three varsity seasons, Ridgecroft went through some of the most successful years of the school’s history on the women’s side of their program.

Murray had the winning penalty kick in the 2004 state championship game for the Lady Rams’ soccer team. She was also a part of Final Four teams in volleyball and basketball.

“I’m really glad I got to go to Ridgecroft and experience everything there,” she said. “It kept me structured.”

Murray said a normal day consisted of school, practice, being up late to do homework and starting over with the same routine the next day.

“If I hadn’t played sports, I wouldn’t have done as well in the classroom,” she said. “It forced me to have a routine.”

Murray’s success carried over from each sport to the next and was also apparent in the classroom, all of which led to her being named Athlete of the Year.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “I had no idea, but it is certainly an honor. Kathryn was such a role model to me, so getting an award that’s named after her is very much an honor.

“If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have taken to volleyball the way I did,” she said. “She took to me and stayed after practice to work with me. She was also good in the classroom and socially.”

The Future

Murray’s next step in life will be heading to Meredith College on August 15.

After arriving in Raleigh, she will determine whether or not to pursue a future in sports. What she will follow is her desire to work with children.

“I want to do something with children,” she said. “Maybe child development or child psychology, but whatever it is I want to work with children.”

Next Tier

Murray was named the Kathryn Vick Female Athlete of the Year by a panel of writers and analysts of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. She was among five finalists for the honor.

The others included Ridgecroft teammate Hayes Bryant, Bertie High School’s Megan Cowan, Lawrence Academy’s Kendall Street and Bertie’s Shanelle Foster.

Second place in the balloting was tied between Bryant and Cowan.

Bryant was a three-sport athlete at Ridgecroft where she was named First Team All-Roanoke-Chowan in basketball and soccer.

She was co-Player of the Year for the region in basketball and was named to the All-Tarheel Independent Conference team as well as being named MVP at her school.

In soccer, she was All-Coastal Plains Independent Conference, All-Region, All-State and was named CPIC Player of the Year.

Bryant also participated in tennis.

Cowan was a two-sport athlete at Bertie High School. During her senior season she was named First Team All-Roanoke-Chowan in tennis and softball.

In softball she was honored as the Jessica Johnston Player of the Year as well as being All-Northeastern Coastal Conference and being named Northeastern Coastal Conference Player of the Year.

In tennis, she was named All-Northeastern Coastal Conference.

Finishing next in the balloting was Street, who was a three-sport star at Lawrence Academy.

During her junior season, Street was named to All-Roanoke-Chowan First Teams in basketball and softball. She was named Second Team in volleyball.

During her softball season, Street was named All-Tarheel Independent Conference, TIC Player of the Year and All-State as well as TIC Tournament MVP.

In basketball, she was honored as a member of the All-Tarheel Independent Conference and was the team MVP.

In volleyball, Street was chosen Second Team All-TIC and was honored as TIC Tournament MVP.

Finishing next among the finalists was Shanelle Foster of Bertie High School, who was Second Team All-Roanoke-Chowan in volleyball and basketball, but was an outstanding track athlete.

She was All-Northeastern Coastal Conference in track and was an All-Region winner.

In basketball, Foster was All-Roanoke-Chowan and was named Best Defensive Player in the Region.

Others who made the ballot included Kristen Cayton of Ridgecroft, Brittany Hoggard of Bertie, Abby Parker of Bertie, Mindy Miller of Bethel Christian Academy and Kayla Overton of Bethel Christian Academy.