National Champion

Sara Wells becomes Wayne State’s first indoor track and field national champion


Photo courtesy Marlon Brink

Sara Wells with her trophy after winning the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship in the shotput.

Caitlin Fehringer, Staff Writer

From the beginning, expectations were set high for senior thrower Sara Wells.

When it all came to an end, Wells made history as a thrower for the WSC Woman’s Track and Field team. Wells is the first-ever indoor national champion.

Three and a half years, six conference championships, five national appearances, five All-American trophies, and records being broke over and over again all led up to becoming a national champion for Wells.

“It’s really surreal,” Wells said. “Words can’t describe the feeling I have. It was just an incredible moment in my life and one I will never forget.”

Wells cut it tight, fouling her first two throws in prelims. But she bounced back stronger than ever on her last throw and uncorked a mark of 53’1”, which at the time was a new school record and the top throw in the prelims.

In finals, Wells unleashed throws of 54’ 2 3/4” and 54’ 1” to seal first place and break her own school record again.

Wells is the youngest of six kids in her family. All competed in college sports, and four of the six were also college throwers. The six kids earned many national appearances and All-American titles.

What separates Sara from the rest of her siblings is that she is the one and only national champion in the family.

As you can imagine, competition always occurred among the siblings, but after this last weekend Sara now has the bragging rights in the family.

“My family is my entire support system outside my coaches and teammates,” Wells said, “No matter if I got first or last, they always are there to tell me how proud they are of me and my accomplishments.”

Wells has one more outdoor season left of her career. Just like expectations were high for the indoor, they will be even higher as she competes in her last season as a Wildcat.
Other Wildcats compete at Nationals

Sophomore Michaela Dendinger took action Friday in the weight throw. She recorded throws of 55’ 3”, 53’ 1 1/2” and 55’ 11” in the prelims. To make finals, Dendinger needed a toss of at least 58’ 2”.

Dendinger was the only WSC athlete to compete in two events. On Saturday, alongside her teammates Wells and Shandan Platt, she laced up to throw her final event, the shot put. Things didn’t go Dendinger’s way, as she scratched all three throws in prelims.

“It was a great experience competing in my first ever indoor nationals,” Dendinger said. “I am honored that I was able to compete with some of the best athletes in Division II, and I am excited to see where outdoors will take me.”

Luckily for Dendinger, she still has three more outdoor and two more indoor seasons to accomplish the goals that every athlete has going into the season, becoming an All-American and national champion.

For Platt, the true freshman, experience is what she got for the future competing in the national meet.

Platt was one place short from making finals. She finished the day with a top throw of 46’2 ½”, which landed her a 10th place finish. Positive signs came out of Platt as she finished four places above what she was ranked going into nationals (14th).

“I didn’t hit the mark I hoped for, but overall I’m very impressed with my first season here at WSC,” Platt said. “Also a huge thank you to everyone that supports the team and myself through the season.”

Redshirt freshman Braxton Adams represented the men’s squad, the only athlete to compete at nationals.

Adams, one of five athletes tied for ninth in the 60 meter dash going into the meet, finished 14th with the time of 6.85 seconds.

“I treated the race as I did every other one, but the nerves were just a little more to handle,” Adams said. “Although the race didn’t go the way I wanted it to, it was a great experience to compete against the best in Division II.”

The track and field team is already out training for the outdoor season. The first meet for the athletes will be the Wildcat Classics on March 28 at 11 a.m.