Utah Valley University track and field athletes Michael McPherson and Kyler Sprague did not advance in their respective events at the 2014 NCAA West Preliminaries on Thursday as they placed 44th and 46th.
McPherson, a junior from Parker, Colorado, topped out at 6.66 meters in the men's long jump to earn his 44th-place finish in the event while Sprague, a freshman from Kaysville, Utah, took 46th in the 400m hurdles with a time of 54.21 seconds.
McPherson posted his best jump in his first attempt of the field event as he also recorded marks of 6.52m and 6.58 meters en route to taking 10th in his flight. The appearance marked McPherson's second straight trip at the NCAA West Regional as the UVU junior also competed at the same meet in the long jump and the 200m dash a year ago.
In his first NCAA Preliminary action, Sprague started strong in the hurdles by posting a time of 22.65 seconds through five hurdles, but he soon ran out of steam as he finished ninth in his heat.
Despite being eliminated in the long jump Thursday, McPherson will compete at the NCAA Championships as he previously punched his ticket in the decathlon with 7,401 total points at the WAC Championships. The Wolverine multi-event specialist, who ranks 20th nationally in the decathlon, becomes UVU's first track athlete to earn a guaranteed spot in the finals that will be held June 11-14 in Eugene, Oregon.
Four more Wolverines will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Friday, as they will take to the track at the West Prelims. Sophomore Scott Moake and freshman Ryle Williams will compete in the men's high jump at 5 p.m. CT, while sophomore Trac Norris and senior Brooke Hodson-Davies will run in the men's and women's 3000m steeplechases at 8:50 and 9:30 p.m. CT, respectively.
The 2014 NCAA West Prelims will conclude Saturday and are being contested at Arkansas' John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.