DIII Week: Murfin Thrives on Track and in the Sky

Apr 4, 2016

Murfin ended his freshman indoor season with a 10th place showing at the IIAC indoor national meet in March.

*This is one of a handful of stories on UD student-athletes and their experiences at the Division III level in honor of Division III week (April 4-10).

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Freshman thrower and aviation major, Blaze Murfin, an indoor shot put school record holder and NCAA Division III National Indoor Championship qualifier, thrives both on the track and in the sky at the University of Dubuque after turning down Division I offers.

Murfin loves the life balance Division III affords and appreciates his UD experience after forgoing Division I track and field athletic scholarship offers from Illinois State, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois University (SIU).

“SIU was my dream school at that time and I knew aviation was something I wanted to go into, but there were a limited amount of schools for that,” said Murfin. “I didn’t really mesh there, so I started looking for other schools, I really wasn’t thinking too much about Division III.”

That’s when throwing coach Jake Malm and the rest of the University of Dubuque opened his eyes.

“UD was an aviation school so I decided to look into it,” added Murfin. “I felt at home with smaller classroom sizes - I do a lot better in a small classroom - top of the line aviation program, the amazing facilities, and I really liked Coach Malm. Can’t say no to that!”

At a Division III school like the University of Dubuque, Murfin was able to still compete at a high level both on the field and in the classroom.

“One of the perks is I can do really well in both sides,” said Murfin. “With other Aviation schools, it’s really difficult to play a sport just because it’s so time consuming. Being at UD and at a smaller Division III school it allows me to excel in both track and in aviation.”

And the competition level of non-scholarship student-athletes?

“I used to think Division III wasn’t as serious as the other divisions … just as serious, these guys want it just as much as those in Division I or Division II,” proudly stated Murfin. “It really shows how much we love to compete since we’re not getting athletic scholarships.”

The Dallas City, Ill. native does more than compete after having already won four indoor meets this year in the shot put, including the Iowa Conference indoor championships, broke school records in both the weight throw and shot put, and was the only UD freshman - ever - to qualify for the Division III Indoor National Championships in the weight throw.

He credits his early success to a healthy balance.

“Track and field helps me get away and without it I probably wouldn’t be doing as well in the classroom,” said Murfin. “They go hand-in-hand and really make me a more well-rounded person.”

Thanks to Division III, only a pint-sized cockpit can hold back a broad-shouldered, shot-put throwing and weight throw tossing pilot like Murfin.