Coleridge girl earns big honors

LINCOLN — A Hartington High School grad picked up a rare honor this week.

Michaela Dendinger was named as the 2018 Lincoln Journal Star’s College Women’s Athlete of the Year.

She is the first Cedar County native to ever earn the award.

Dendinger capped off her senior year at Hartington High with runner-up finishes in the discus and the shot put.

That was in 2013 — the year Dendinger also set the Hartington High School records in discus and shot put.

From there it was on to college and loftier goals.

The Hartington High grad went from a small town thrower that made some noise at the high school state track meet, to a force to be reckoned with in college. 

She also went on to become a nine-time All-American while in college.

She became a two-time national champion thrower at Wayne State, with her last national title coming last spring in the hammer throw, with a toss of 212 feet, 3 inches.

“I never really knew how successful I could be, until later on,” Dendinger said.  “But it was always a goal I had in mind.”

She accomplished all this despite needing to take a medical red shirt because of foot surgery her junior year at Wayne.

Dendinger had just finished runner-up in the discus at the 2015 outdoor national championships, and she set a Wayne State record that day. Her foot injury required surgery, and she took a medical redshirt for both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2016.

She bounced back though. In 2017, she won the shot put national championship, with a throw of 54-9.25 to set a new school record. She also finished second in the hammer throw and sixth in the discus.

Dendinger has been a sponge while at Wayne State, soaking up all of the knowledge around her. Including in the hammer throw, an event she had never competed in prior to college.

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