Inside The Decision: Port Charlotte's Atherley Picks Auburn

Signing Day is among us! Today kids all over the country who love track and field are signing their hearts away to the school of their dreams. Some of the fastest kids in the nation who are signing today are South Florida's finest. Today we go Inside the Decision of Michelle Atherley, Port Charlotte hurdle and jump standout, who has chosen to become an Auburn Tiger.

Michelle took official visits to the University of Miami and University of Alabama Birmingham, as well as, unofficial visits too FIU, FAU, FSU and UNC. When visiting Auburn Michelle went in knowing that they were offering her the best scholarship she could ask for. At the time her number one school was still holding out on an amount for their offer too.

“For me the money wasn't everything and so I was really looking forward to seeing the campus, the team and the environment as well," explained Michelle.

When Michelle got on the campus she was surprised about how big it was and how the wide open country scenery reminded her of her small town.

On the second day of her visit she got a full campus tour, getting to see all of the athletic facilities, as well as meeting majority of the coaching staff and team.

“It was a great experience and Coach Adrian made such a great first impression that it made everything feel comfortable. Of course the coach's goal is to make a recruit love the school, but being with the teammates and getting an honest opinion is what I really appreciate," Michelle said when speaking on her visit.

The main coach to recruit her was Coach Adrian Ghioroaie, who oversees the women's jumps and multi events.

“He has an amazing track record and is already showing some significant improvements under his guidance. I believe the program is young in terms of it' members and the potential is there," said Michelle.

As far as what her focus is going to be in college, Michelle would like to complete in the multi's, but wouldn't mind competing in hurdles ad jumps every now and then. When she attends Auburn in the fall, Michelle plans on majoring in political science with an emphasis on law and a minor in business.

For the upcoming state series Atherley will be running the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles in addition to the long jump and triple jump. That's FOUR events with both prelims and finals for the state meet. I asked if she thought was going to be a little too much to handle for the state series and she said, “I compete almost every regular season meet with three to four events. My first season running I went to states for three events as a newbie.I feel that two years later I have grown so much and am much stronger and prepared athlete." At state Michelle wants to win all of her events and also hit some new personal bests!

Big congratulations to Michelle for signing to Auburn University. Make sure you watch this official War Eagle fight through the competition as well as soar to some new heights going into states!

Personal Bests

  • 100 Meter Hurdles13.61
  • 100 Meter Dash12.40
  • 200 Meter Dash25.48
  • 300 Meter Hurdles42.20
  • 400 Meter Dash59.40
  • High Jump5-7.5
  • Long Jump18-11.5
  • Pentathlon3439
  • Triple Jump39-11

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