Utah Valley University junior Michael McPherson finished his historic NCAA Championship run in 16th place in the decathlon on Thursday with 7,272 points. By taking 16th, McPherson earned second team All-America honors.
McPherson not only became UVU's first-ever student-athlete to compete at the NCAA Track and Field Championships this week but also the institution's first-ever track and field All-American at the Division I level. McPherson earned his 16th-place finish after taking fourth in the 1500-meter run, 11th in the 110m hurdles, 18th in the pole vault, 20th in the javelin and 22nd in the discus during his second and final day of competition in the decathlon.
The Parker, Colorado, native entered the final event of the 10-stage decathlon — the 1500m run — on Thursday one spot back of guaranteeing himself an All-American finish, but McPherson saved his best outing of the day for the 1500m run as he took fourth in the distance race with a time of 4:37.68 to move into 16th place and become an All-American.
"What is traditionally a great event did not go as planned, but rather than let it dictate his day, Michael set a personal record (discus), a season best (javelin) and two second best marks (pole vault and 1500m)," associate head coach Kirke Adamson said. "Michael actually improved 70 points over the final four events in relation to his results from his WAC Championship to earn the 16th-place finish."
In his other four events on the day, McPherson recorded a time of 15.11 seconds in the 110m hurdles as well as marks of 4.30m in the pole vault, 33.79m in the discus and 49.87m in the javelin. The UVU decathlete also won the 400m dash during Wednesday's opening day (48.28), as well as took second in the 100m (10.73), 10th in the long jump (7.24m), 15th in the high jump (1.90m) and 22nd in the shot put (10.39m).
The 7,272 points McPherson recorded at his first NCAA Championship run are the second most he has ever scored in the event. His 7,272 points are also good enough to rank him second all-time in program history.
Georgia's Maicel Uibo ended up winning the decathlon with 8,182 points, while Texas' Johannes Hock took second with 8,092 and Oregon's Dakotah Keys finished third with 8068. Two other in-state athletes competed in the decathlon and they placed in ninth and 19th. BYU's Chase Dalton finished in ninth with 7,568 points, while his teammate Joshua Weirich took 19th with 7,043.
With his 16th-place finish, McPherson placed ahead of eight of his fellow competitors, including athletes from Baylor, Memphis, Kansas State, BYU and Brown.
Despite McPherson's run coming to a close Thursday, the Championships continue from Oregon's historic Hayward Field on Friday and Saturday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.