The excitement for Emily Pendleton’s senior prom started long before the dance actually started.
Competing at the Oak Harbor Invitational mere hours before her hair appointment, Pendleton launched her final discus throw of the day 183 feet and three inches.
The toss shattered the all-time Ohio state record by more than six feet and would have been enough to take second place at last year’s NCAA championships.
With those kind of numbers, it’s no surprise Michigan coaches have sky-high expectations for the Lindsay, Ohio native in three throwing events – discuss, shot put and hammer throw.
“She should break the school record in the discus this year, and she’ll probably qualify in (discus, shot put and hammer throw) for NCAA regionals,” Michigan assistant coach Anne Takacs said. “She should go to NCAA Nationals and be in the top five in discus and she also should make it to Olympic trials.”
The coaching staff’s confidence is hardly surprising considering Pendleton has been representing the Michigan track and field program since long before she arrived on campus.
After verbally committing to Michigan after her junior year, she got to work immediately building her future team. Using connections forged while competing on the U.S. Junior Olympic team, Pendleton aggressively recruited other top throwers and runners to join her in Ann Arbor.
“Emily is basically the quarterback of her recruiting class,” Takacs said. “She was able to use her ability to seek out other people at her level of talent, even in the other event groups.”
Takacs cited freshman distance runner Danielle Tauro as well as freshman throwers Allison Liske and Danica Haight as teammates whose decisions to attend Michigan were at least partially influenced by the prospect of competing with Pendleton rather than against her.
“I’m really excited to have them on the team and we have some great expectations for each other,” Pendleton said.
Now that she’s actually throwing for the Maize and Blue, Pendleton is ready to make an immediate impact in competition.
“I look at the people that I’m competing against, and I know that I can throw with them,” Pendleton said. “I know I’ve done the distances before. I know it’s in me, and it’s just a matter of whether I do it that day or not.”
Hometown: Lindsay, Ohio
Events: Discus, shotput, hammer throw