Kid to Watch: Lilly Murphy

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by Stephanie Hobby

Lilly Murphy is a friendly and energetic junior at Billings West High School who took time out of her packed schedule to talk with us about her work as a gymnast, school, and family. Lilly’s at the gym four or five days a week, pulls a 4.0 GPA, and recently tied for first at her school’s American Mathematics Competition. She will teach swim lessons at Billings Gymnastics School this summer and is thinking of volunteering at St. Vincent’s. She wants to pursue civil engineering in college.

What do you like about gymnastics?

It’s like four sports in one because you have all the different events. It’s totally a mental game, and also physical too. You have to be so focused all the time. If you aren’t, then an injury, or really anything, could happen. You have to really make your brain say that you can do it too. The coaches really help when I’m approaching a new routine, but for me, it’s better to just get up and go right away, not thinking about it for a really long time.

How did this year’s state competition go?

It wasn’t my best meet, but I made it through all four events, so that was a plus. I rolled my ankle the last two meets, and I’ve been battling with that. Being able to come back and do all four events was fun.

The first time I broke my foot was in August 2016, and then I had surgery on it in August, and was out for four months and then had another surgery on it in December to get the hardware removed, and then I was out for three months after that.

You continue through the pain?

Yes. That year, the 2016-2017 season, I was out the whole season. This season, I rolled my ankle, so it was just a little, but it kept me out for one meet and just a couple of events.

What’s your favorite event?

I like bars. This year, that’s the main one that I could really do the whole season, so I really liked that. Plus, I just like the feeling of flying around on the bars.

Do you have siblings?

I have two younger sisters; each of us was adopted from China when we were about one year old. We’re not biological sisters. We really want to go [to China] as a family. We’ve been trying to figure out a time to do that. I think we’re going to wait until my youngest sister is a little bit older. She’s a sixth grader now, but I think we’re going to wait until she’s at least eighth grade, to make sure she really remembers it.

You’re dedicated to gymnastics and do well in school. Is that a lot of pressure?

It’s definitely a juggling act. I think it’s good for setting us up for the real world, too, having to not procrastinate, is a big one; getting things done right away to be able to fit everything in.

If it ever gets too stressful, I always lay back on one thing. My mom always says school before gymnastics, which is hard sometimes, but I’ll take a day off from the gym to stay home and do homework. I have to do that quite a bit, and juggle the rest of it.

My coaches have helped me so much, even through that injury. You learn so many good life lessons from gymnastics, not just things you learn in the gym.

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s May 2018 issue.
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