Michael Lihrman's journey to the Badgers has not been a traditional one. But Wisconsin is sure happy to have him.
Lihrman, a junior transfer from Division III UW-Stout, will compete in the weight throw at the 2013 USA Indoor Track and Field Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. (CT).
The competition, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, features many of the nation's elite track and field athletes as they compete in the world's oldest indoor track championship.
The event also will mark Lihrman's first official competition wearing the Badgers' uniform, meaning UW's school record is likely in jeopardy.
Lihrman got a late start in track and field, joining the sport his junior year at Rice Lake High School. After being named conference field athlete of the year as a senior, Lihrman enrolled at UW-Stout to compete as a collegiate thrower.
Last season at UW-Stout, Lihrman finished 11th in the weight throw at the 2012 NCAA Division III indoor Championships and finished fourth in the hammer throw at the outdoor championships.
After his sophomore year, however, he transferred to Wisconsin and has been throwing like a Division I athlete ever since.
Although Lihrman is redshirting this season and competes unattached, he has won the weight throw in each of the four meets he has competed in.
The junior had displayed remarkable consistency, winning each meet with marks that would have broken the Badgers school record of 64 feet, 4 1/2 inches if he had been competing in a UW uniform.
Lihrman's best throw came at the Red & White Open on Feb. 15, when he threw a personal-best and Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center (The Shell) facility-record toss of 70 feet, 10 3/4 inches.
Despite the victories and record heaves, Lihrman is comfortable redshirting his first season at Wisconsin.
"It actually hasn't been that different because I pretty much competed with the team the entire year," Lihrman said. "I know next year, and the year after that, I will have even bigger opportunities."
Lihrman is thrilled about the chance to compete at a prestigious event like the USA indoor championships during a redshirt year.
"I actually had no idea that I could do that," he said. "I wasn't really sure what the boundaries are for a redshirt so I'm extremely excited."
Not only will Lihrman get to compete against some of the country's premier athletes, he will also get a feel for the facility that will host the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships. But the junior is taking things one step at a time.
"There will be some pretty big competitors there," Lihrman said. "My expectations are to just have fun."