UVU track: Utah Valley set for WAC Championships after final tune-up in Ogden
Utah Valley University finished its run-up to its first ever WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday after completing competition at the Wildcat Indoor Open at Stromberg Gym. In a meet that had begun with throwing events on Wednesday, the Open featured mostly running events on Saturday.
"We had some good performances from a lot of kids we haven't been able to see much from so far this season," UVU track and field coach Scott Houle said. "Levi Ball had a great day and barely missed the school record on pole vault, and Savannah Heywood had a really nice race in the 800-meter. Also, it was great to see Bailey Carling and Desiree Guerrero reach the finals of the 55-meter dash. They've both battled through some injuries and came out to post personal records today."
Heywood finished second in the 800m run, posting a time of 2:21.91, while Ball also came in second in pole vault after clearing 4.70m. It was the second-best vault of the indoor season for Utah Valley.
Meanwhile, Carling and Guerrero — appearing in their first races of the indoor season — reached the finals of the 55m dash. Carling came in third behind a time of 7.39, while Guerrero was fifth at 7.48.
Other notable performances included a first-place finish from Bryce Richards in triple-jump and second place finishes Preston Beatty (men's triple-jump), Bayley Cranford (women's pole vault) and Jason Hodson (men's 800m run).
Meanwhile, Wolverine junior Michael McPherson was in Albuquerque, N.M., at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships where he finished fifth in heptathlon. He posted a personal best of 5535 points and also set personal records in four of the seven events.
McPherson's points total, along with his 1000m time of 2:43.15, are UVU records.
"Michael stepped up in his final attempt to become the first UVU track and field athlete to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships," Houle said. "The top-16 heptathlon scores qualify and his score today will move him into the top 10 in the country with one week still left to compete."
McPherson's four personal bests came in shotput, 60m hurdles, pole vault and the 1000m run. Competing in a field of eight heptathletes, McPherson won the 60m dash with a time of 6.91 and finished 536 points back of winner Gray Horn — a former track and field athlete at the University of Florida.
Next up, the Wolverines make their first appearance at the WAC Indoor Championships held at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, on Feb. 27. UVU will look for its first WAC track and field title while aiming to qualify as many athletes as possible for the NCAA Indoor Championships which begin March 7 in Albuquerque.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.