Meeting the contenders: Mike Morrison

Oregon’s three-time NCAA decathlon champion Ashton Eaton graduated last year, opening up the field this spring Cal senior Mike Morrison.

With the nation’s highest score in the event this season (7,921 points), the transfer from Florida heads to Des Moines, Iowa as the favorite.

“It’s just in the preparations,” he said of his focus heading into the NCAA Outdoor Championships. “Just get rested up, work out before we leave on Monday, get in some technical work on as many events as you can and go into the meet with a good mentality.”

With his last chance to capture the title coming up, Morrison says he finally considers himself “a true decathlete” for the first time in his career.

In 2007, when he won SEC Freshman of the Year with the Gators, Morrison was directed into the decathlon and started to put up solid scores as a sophomore. He never made it to the NCAA Championships in 2008, however, as his season was ended by elbow surgery. In 2010 — his first year with the Bears — Morrison finished as the national runner-up to Eaton.

“Last year (as a junior), instead of coming in with the goal of trying to win and going after it, I looked at it as a building year towards this year,” Morrison said. “Each year has fed into the next and they build off one another.”

Known by many for responding well under pressure, Morrison is accustomed to this kind of situation.

“It’s the pinnacle of my season,” he said. “There are meets that come after this in the summer but this is what I’ve been working for for five years. I came into college with the goal of winning an NCAA Championship, I just have to go in and take care of each event and do my best in everything.”

Image source: Cal Media Relations