Cal senior Michael Morrison roared back from a potentially disastrous effort in the high jump to win the decathlon title with a school-record score Friday at the NCAA track and field championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Morrison delivered personal-best efforts in eight other events and Cal became the first school to boast four NCAA multi-event champions.
His score of 8,118 points not only gave the Pac-10 six straight winners in the event but also shattered the 18-year-old school record of 8,007 points set by Chris Huffins, who later won a 1996 Olympic bronze medal in the decathlon.
"It's awesome," said Morrison by phone. "I'm thrilled about the score."
He topped his previous best by nearly 200 points.
Cal associate head coach Ed Miller, the school's first NCAA decathlon winner in 1976, wasn't surprised.
"He always brings it in the big meets," Miller said.
Morrison threw 198 feet, 4 inches in the javelin late Thursday night before the meet was stopped because of rain and lightning storms. He took the overall lead after the javelin was completed Friday morning, then ran a personal-best 4 minutes, 35.35 seconds in the 1,500 meters to hold off Duke freshman Curtis Beach (8,084 points) and Clemson's Miller Moss (7,996).
Nothing seemed certain after Morrison cleared just 6-11/2 in the high jump Wednesday -- five inches off his best -- to drop into sixth place overall.
"I knew I took a big hit, but it also kind of re-focused me," he said. "I knew I couldn't make another mistake."
"The one thing we knew about Michael Morrison is he's great under pressure," Cal coach Tony Sandoval said. "That's who he is."