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UVU track: six Wolverines headed to NCAA Preliminaries

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 22 2014 4:39 p.m. MDT

Michael McPherson (right) races past a competitor. He is the first UVU track and field athlete to earn a trip to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics

Enlarge photo»

The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the participants for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships — a field that includes six Utah Valley University student-athletes. The group, comprised of five men's participants and one women's participant, will compete at the West region competition in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 29-31.

Junior Michael McPherson, who qualified for the West region preliminary in the long jump, has also secured a spot at the NCAA Championships in decathlon. Ranked 20th nationally in decathlon (7401 points), McPherson becomes the first Wolverine to earn a guaranteed spot in the finals — held June 11-14 in Eugene, Oregon.

A trio of Wolverines will be making their second trip to the NCAA Preliminaries, including a pair who competed last spring in Austin, Texas. Senior Brooke Hodson-Davies qualified for the second consecutive year in the steeplechase, while McPherson will be making his second straight appearance in the long jump.

Hodson-Davies (10:27.98) will enter the week ranked 89th nationally in the 3000m steeplechase, while McPherson (7.45) is 78th in long jump.

Redshirt sophomore Trac Norris is also making the second trip of his career to the West regional having qualified as a true freshman in 2010 in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m steeplechase. He will again be competing in the steeplechase in this year's edition.

Norris (8:59.94) will take a ranking of 88th to Fayetteville.

Appearing at the preliminaries for the first time are true freshmen Kyler Sprague and Ryle Williams. Sprague will appear in the 400m hurdles, while Williams will compete alongside teammate and first-year qualifier Scott Moake in the high jump. Moake is a redshirt sophomore.

Ranked 65th, Sprague qualified with a time of 51.70. Meanwhile, Williams (2.15) and Moake (2.10) are ranked 34th and 76th, respectively. Six student-athletes are the most participants that Utah Valley has sent to an NCAA Preliminary since 2010, when it also sent six. Last year, five Wolverines appeared at the West regional held at the University of Texas.

Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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