Utah Valley University junior Michael McPherson will become the Wolverines' first ever track athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships this week, as he'll take part in the decathlon Wednesday and Thursday in Eugene, Oregon.
The UVU multi-event specialist will be one of 24 athletes to participate in the men's decathlon at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. McPherson will enter the 10 stage competition ranked 20th in the nation with 7,401 points.
"We are extremely excited and fortunate for Michael to represent himself and UVU in the NCAA Championships," head coach Scott Houle said. "This is a major step for a new university at the Division I level and we couldn't be happier for him."
McPherson, who qualified directly into the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the decathlon as the event was not contested at the prelims, will enter the meet off a 44th-place finish in the long jump at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds two weeks ago. The Wolverine junior placed 44th in the long jump with a leap of 6.66-meters.
Prior to the NCAA Prelims, McPherson had an outstanding weekend at the 2014 WAC Outdoor Championships as he was named the male Outstanding Field Performer and the High Point Award Winner after earning 30 points for his team. McPherson not only won the decathlon with a school record and NCAA qualifying mark of 7,401 points at his inaugural WAC Outdoor Championship, but he also took second in the long jump (6.94m), second in the 4x100m relay team (41.37), third in the 200m (21.39) and fifth in the 100m (10.73). In all, McPherson competed in 16 events at the meet.
The native of Parker, Colorado, will begin his quest to become UVU's first track and field All-American on Wednesday as he'll take part in five of the decathlon's 10 events that afternoon. McPherson will open his 2014 NCAA Championship run at 11:30 a.m. PT in the 100-meter dash. He'll also compete in the long jump (12:15 p.m.), shot put (1:30 p.m.), high jump (2:45 p.m.) and 400m dash (6 p.m.) later that day. He'll conclude his competition in the decathlon Thursday with the 110m hurdles (11 a.m.), the discus (noon), the pole vault (2 p.m.), the javelin (4:30 p.m.) and the 1500m run (7 p.m.).
"Michael is arguably competing in the hardest event in any sport, with 10 events in two days," Houle said. "He is one of the greatest athletes we have had the privilege to coach and with this being his junior season, we look for more to come from him next year."
The 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships continue Friday and Saturday as a number of final races and field events will be contested on the weekend. The four-day Championships conclude with the running of the women's 4x400m relay at 3:55 p.m. PT on Saturday.
Besides live results being available for the entire meet on the Flash Results website, Wednesday's and Thursday's events will be also streamed on ESPN3, while Friday's and Saturday's finals will be televised live on ESPNU.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.