Newport Harbor High senior wrestler Mason Murphy is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.

Newport Harbor High senior wrestler Mason Murphy is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week. (Scott Smeltzer | Daily Pilot / January 10, 2013)

That no-lose attitude was strengthened in the summer, when he and his father, Dave Murphy, worked out together. They lifted a lot and the younger Murphy came back to the Sailors' wrestling program stronger, adding 20 pounds.

Murphy's father was strapping during his senior year at Sunny Hills in 1966. Dave was one of the best high school throwers in the state back then. His best throw in the shot put, a 67-foot, 2-inch effort, still ranks No. 14 in the state and No. 6 in Orange County.

"I knew he was a real successful athlete," said Murphy, who also wants to succeed in athletics.

His father has supported him, even during his troubles at school. He said his dad taught at the continuation school — Alternative, Community, and Correctional Education Schools and Services — Murphy attended in Orange County.

Never was his dad disappointed that his son ended up at ACCESS, which serves students who have failed in traditional schools. Murphy said his grades are up now because of wrestling's structure and "you have to get good grades to wrestle."

"[My dad] kind of wanted me on the right path, so whatever worked for me," said Murphy, whose mother, Cindy, has also backed him. "She comes to all of my matches. She gets nervous [when she watches me wrestle]. She yells stuff like, 'Be like a monkey on his back!' She doesn't know anything about the sport. It's embarrassing, but it's funny."

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Mason Murphy

Born: March 16, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 170 pounds

Sport: Wrestling

Year: Senior

Coach: Dominic Bulone

Favorite food: Beef jerky

Favorite movie: "Step Brothers"

Favorite athletic moment: "Winning for the first time this season."

Week in review: Murphy, a 170-pounder, placed fourth at the Asics Southern California Challenge at Tustin High.

david.carrillo@latimes.com

Twitter: @DCPenaloza