’Cats leave good impression at nationals


WSC Athletics

Michaela Dendinger received Second Team All-American honors in two events Monday by the U.S. track and field and cross country coaches association after posting a pair of 10th place finishes in the shot put and weight throw at last weekend’s NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Al.

Nathan Pearson, Staff Writer

Wayne State’s Michaela Dendinger was 10th in both the shot put and weight and throw and Robert Sullivan was 12th in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II National meet in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday through Saturday.

This was Dendinger’s second trip to nationals, after she qualified her sophomore year (2015) and having to sit out last year with a medical red-shirt.

It was Sullivan’s first time qualifying for nationals. The red shirt sophomore had a breakout season in the heptathlon, breaking the school record with 5,141 points at the conference championship, on his way to an NSIC title in that event.

“Both of them wanted to be All-Americans (top eight),” Head Coach Marlon Brink said. “They had a realistic shot, but at nationals there’s no room for error.”

Dendinger’s distance in the shot put was 47’2 1/4’’ and 61’3’’ in the weight throw.

“Michaela came back and had a better indoor season than expected,” Throws Coach Brett Suckstorf said. “But she didn’t quite finish the way she wanted to at nationals.”

Dendinger is the school record holder in the discus, with a throw of 178’3’’ in 2015.

“Michaela is one of the most dedicated athletes I’ve ever had,” Suckstorf said.

Sullivan scored 4,944 points in the heptathlon this past weekend. He was fourteenth in the 60-meter (7.40), sixth in the long jump (21’11’’), fifth in the shot put (39’7’’), second in the high jump (6’5’’), twelfth in the pole vault (12’11.5’’) and eleventh in the 1,000-meter (3:04.79).

“Overall, Robert had an exceptional season,” Travis Kamm, the sprints, jumps and multis coach, said. “We knew there was a shot at nationals and it took him a near-perfect two days to qualify. He made improvements in the hurdles and high jump this season that helped his heptathlon score. He has a superb work ethic.”

Tiffin was the team champion on the men’s side with 63 points, followed by Ashland (52), St. Augustine’s (46), Adams State (41) and the Academy of Art (27) to round out the top five.

On the women’s side, Adams State won the team championship with 47 points, followed by Grand Valley State (39), Chadron State (38), Pittsburgh State (35.83) and West Texas A&M to round out the top five.

Overall, Brink felt the indoor season was a success for the Wildcats and gives them some momentum going into outdoor season.

“Third place (at conference) for the men was great,” Brink said. “We got a guy to nationals and we also had a lot of provisional marks. I’m optimistic about the future.

“For the women, Kacie (O’Connor) is coming back for the discus. She’s a national qualifier and conference champion. There’s people to be optimistic about,” he said.