UVU track: Wolverine men and women lead WAC Championships after day two

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 15 2014 6:07 p.m. MDT

Both of Utah Valley University's track and field teams are in first place after the second day of competition at the 2014 WAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Jason Lynch, Michael McPherson and Ashli Schulz led the way for the Wolverines with each winning their respective events on the day.

The sophomore Lynch picked up the Wolverines' first-ever WAC Outdoor Title by winning the 10,000-meter run in the morning, while the junior McPherson set a school record in the decathlon with 7,401 points and the sophomore Schulz jumped from fifth to first in the heptathlon as she finished atop the event with 4,642 points. Schulz managed to edge out a few of her teammates in the event as UVU finished first through fourth in the women's heptathlon.

"Today was a good day. It began with the 110-meter hurdles and went right into the 10K's. We also followed up right where we left off in the heptathlon as well as the decathlon," head coach Scott Houle said. "A lot of good things happened, and what can you say about the job that Michael McPherson did? The guy has been huge for us."

The Wolverine women nailed down the top four spots in the heptathlon as senior Ali Shields placed second, while junior Jessica Lingwall and freshman Mindy Stapel finished in third and fourth, respectively. Shields secured her second-place showing with 4,576 points, while Lingwall took third with 4,547 and Stapel fourth with 4,283 points of her own. Schulz pulled out the title in the heptathlon by winning the final event of the competition, the 800m run with a time of 2:26.47. The UVU sophomore also recorded personal records in all three events that she competed in on the day as she tied for first in the long jump with a leap of 5.34m and took second in the javelin (35.69m).

McPherson, who won four of the five events of the decathlon Wednesday, continued his strong performance by winning three more Thursday for a total of seven. The Wolverine junior took home titles in the 110m hurdles (14.73), the pole vault (4.40m) and the 1500m run (4:38.53). He also finished fourth in the discus (31.38m) and fifth in the javelin (44.96m). McPherson will now wait until next week's NCAA selection show to see if his 7,401 points are good enough to qualify him for the NCAA Championships in the decathlon. If so, he will become UVU's first-ever track athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships.

Lynch, who was even with a couple of competitors entering the final lap of the men's 10,000m, turned on the jets down the stretch as he finished eight seconds ahead of his next closest competitor with a solid time of 33:33.04. Sophomore Seth Gutzwiller and senior Macy Butterfield also scored points for UVU in the event as they placed fourth and seventh, respectively, with times of 33:46.04 and 34:48.40. Junior Ivie Gonsalves also had a big day for the Wolverine women as she placed second in the women's 10,000m run with a time of 37:07.83.

The UVU women lead the team score race with 37 points, while the men hold the lead on their side with 29. Idaho is in second in the overall standings with 32 and 24 respective points, while Grand Canyon is in third on the women's side with four and Kansas City currently holds down the third spot on the men's with 12.

The 2014 WAC Outdoor Championships continue from the Hal Wing Track and Field in Orem on Friday. Action gets underway at 9 a.m., with the women's hammer throw and continues through Saturday afternoon.

"I'm excited for the multis to be over and am looking forward to getting the whole team out here and seeing what we can do over the next couple of days," Houle said.

Women's team scores (through two events)

1. Utah Valley, 37

2. Idaho, 32

3. Grand Canyon, 4

4. New Mexico State, 2

4. Kansas City, 2

6. Seattle U, 1

Men's team scores (through two events)

1. Utah Valley, 29

2. Idaho, 24

3. Kansas City, 12

4. Grand Canyon, 10

5. Seattle U, 3

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.