The Daily Californian Online

Morrison Sets Cal Heptathlon Record at NCAA Indoor Meet

By Byron Atashian
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Monday, March 14, 2011
Category: Sports > Spring > Track and Field

Mike Morrison's fifth-place finish in the heptathlon at the NCAA Track and Field Indoor Championships this weekend doesn't quite tell the whole story.

Not only did he come through in the clutch in the pole vault to help break the Cal heptathlon record that he set, but also the neck-and-neck competition was so close that clearing another bar height in the vault or high jump would have put him in second.

"It always feels good breaking a record but I kind of hoped for more, it was a heck of a field," Morrison said. "The field was deep and almost everybody was in the running to win it if they could step up and put up big marks."

According to Cal coach Tony Sandoval, the field at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas, was the strongest in NCAA history. The point totals for the fourth through eighth spots were the highest ever and Morrison finished in a lower rank than last year despite having a higher score.

The senior cleared an impressive 16-8.75 in the pole vault. Although he was a pole vaulter by trade out of high school, the event has given him the most trouble this season. After hurting his elbow in last year's NCAA Outdoors and missing a large portion of training in the fall, Morrison struggled to get back up to speed in the pole vault.

He turned the liability into an asset, however, coming in second place in the event and reopening possibilities of breaking his personal collegiate record of 17-0.75.

"You put him in a corner and he performs, he does a great job of that," Sandoval said. "He put it together and he really needed a good pole vault for his score."

His solid performance can only mean good things looking ahead to the newly begun outdoor season, as he continues to find his rhythm from the time lost to recovery.

"To know that I'm back and I've got my groove again was the highlight of the meet for me," Morrison said. "I feel like I have a lot more left in it and I came away knowing I'm going to go even higher in the outdoor season."

In the transition to the outdoor season, the heptathlon picks up three more events - the javelin, the discus and the 400m - to become the decathlon. The new events are stronger points for Morrison.

"He will be better outdoors than he will indoors, he showed that last year as well" Sandoval said. "He has great poise and competitiveness."

Morrison's teammates, Allison Stokke and Hammed Suleman, also competed at the NCAA Indoors in the pole vault and triple jump, respectively.

Stokke, a senior, took eighth in the pole vault with a height of 13-9.50. Suleman, a sophomore, finished 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 50-11.50.

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