Wayne, Neb. — The 2023 Wayne State College Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be inducted during Hall of Fame Day activities on Saturday, October 14th. Four individuals, one contributor and one team will be honored during the Wildcat home football game vs. Bemidji State at 12 p.m. with the Hall of Fame Banquet set for 6:15 p.m. that evening in the Kanter Student Center that begins with a social at 5:30 p.m.
Advance tickets are required for the event and cost $40 per person and $12 for children and can be purchased by calling the WSC Alumni Office at 402-375-7526 or registering online at https://www.wsc.edu/info/20489/get_involved/1474/hall_of_fame/3.
2023 WSC Athletic Hall of Fame members include track and field standouts Paige Pollard Green and Michaela Dendinger Sweeney, football player Luke Hoffman, baseball player Marc Manganaro, the 2008 Wildcat football team and contributor Bill Melena.
Listed below are the 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees:
Paige Pollard Green (Athlete): Paige Pollard Green (2008-12) from Newcastle High School was a standout track and field athlete for the Wildcats. She was a two-time NCAA All-American during senior season, placing sixth in 800-meter run and ran leg on eighth place 4 x 400-meter relay. Pollard was a three-time NCAA Outdoor qualifier and two-time NCAA Indoor National qualifier.
Pollard was the NSIC Field Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She was a six-time NSIC conference champion and 11 times earned All-NSIC honors (top three in event). Today she still holds five individual school records (three indoor, three outdoor) and has her name on five other school record relay teams.
Pollard was also an Academic All-American Third Team selection as a senior.
Following WSC, she was high school volleyball coach at Ponca for two years, assistant basketball coach at Allen for three years and five years track coach at Allen. She is now a stay-at-home mother with 3 ½ (Ellie) and two-year-old (Calvin) children and resides outside of Allen.
Luke Hoffman (Athlete): Wakefield graduate Luke Hoffman started every game in his four-year career at linebacker for the Wildcats from 2005-2008. He led Wayne State in tackles as a freshman and sophomore and was second on the team as a junior and senior. Hoffman ranks third all-time in tackles at WSC with 385 and was a consistent performer on the Wildcat defense with 98, 100, 90 and 97 tackles in his four seasons.
Hoffman helped turn around a WSC football program that went from 3-8 at the start of his career to 9-3 as a senior and the school’s first-ever NCAA Division II playoff appearance (2008) along with playing in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2007 during his junior season.
Hoffman was First Team All-NSIC and First Team All-Super Region #3 as a senior. Academically, Luke was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection as a junior and senior and was First Team All-American as a senior with a 3.87 GPA majoring in elementary education.
Hoffman resides in Pender with his wife Liz and four children – Sloane, Neely, Bryce and Linden. He is the 7-12 principal at Pender Public Schools and serves as head boys golf coach for the Dragons who won the Class D state title in 2023.
Marc Manganaro (Athlete): Marc Manganaro (Laurel-Concord HS) was a standout first baseman for the Wildcat baseball team from 2005-08. He started three seasons at first base and turned into an All-NSIC and All-Central Region player ranking near the top in numerous all-time stat categories at WSC.
Manganaro was a three-time First Team All-NSIC selection (2006, 2007, 2008) and named Co-NSIC Player of the Year as a senior after hitting .396 that season with 10 homers and 61 RBI on a team that was 40-13 and NSIC regular season champions with a 24-6 league mark. Other post season honors his senior season included ABCA/Rawlings All-Central Region First Team, Daktronics (SID) All-Central Region Second Team and 2008 NCAA Central Region All-Tournament Team.
Manganaro was a two-time ABCA/Rawlings All-Central Region First Team honoree (2007, 2008) and selected to the NSIC All-Tournament Team in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
He closed his WSC career with a .335 batting average and played on four NCAA Tournament teams, four NSIC regular season champion teams and two NSIC Tournament champion teams (2005, 2006). Wayne State’s record with Marc as a player was 159-58-1 (.731) overall and in NSIC games 93-19 (.830). He ranks first in career putouts (1,124), first in hit by pitches (69), second in RBI’s (187), third in runs scored (190), tied for fourth in hits (223), sixth in at bats (627) and tied for sixth in total bases (349).
Marc resides in Omaha where he is director of nursing for Fusion Medical Staffing.
Michaela Dendinger Sweeney (Athlete): Michaela Dendinger Sweeney (2013-18) is the most decorated track and field athlete in school history as a thrower, winning two national championships while earning All-American honors nine times.
From Coleridge and a graduate of Hartington Public High School, Dendinger helped the WSC women to four of the all-time best finishes as a team at the NCAA Championships – ninth in 2015 outdoors, 12th in 2017 and 16th in 2018 to go with 16th place finish as a team in 2018 indoors.
Dendinger Sweeney was the 2017 national champion in shot put and 2018 national champ in hammer throw and was a national runner up four times. She was an eight-time NSIC Conference champion. Academically, Dendinger was a Second Team Academic All-American as a junior.
Following her career at WSC, Dendinger continued to compete in the hammer throw qualifying for the USA National Indoor Meet in 2019, 2021 and 2022. She was a qualifier for the USA Olympic Trials in the hammer throw in 2021 and a USA National Outdoor Meet qualifier in the hammer in 2018 and 2019.
She is an occupational therapist at CNOS in Dakota Dunes and resides in Vermillion where she also served as a volunteer assistant throws coach at the University of South Dakota from 2018-22.
2008 Football Team (Team): The 2008 Wayne State football team went 9-3 and qualified for the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history and shared the NSIC South Division title (the only one since joining the NSIC) with Minnesota State. The nine wins tied a school record for most wins in a season, matching the 1949 team (9-0), 1993 team (9-1) and last year’s team (9-3). The team earned its first national ranking since 1995 (13 years) and finished the season ranked 19th in the final AFCA DII Coaches Poll and 20th in the final D2Football.com Media Poll. Coach Dan McLaughlin was named AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year.
16 Wildcat players were named to the 2008 NSIC All-Conference Team with eight on the first team, four on the second team and four honorable mention selections. Defensively, the ‘Cats were led by Luke Hoffman (97 tackles) and Troy Pribnow (14 sacks/22 TFL, five forced fumbles). Hoffman was named to ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-American First Team.
Pribnow earned Daktronics Second Team All-American honors and was named to the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team. He was also named to the First Team Associated Press Little All-America Football Team and was selected to D2Football.com’s All-America Team. Pribnow was also named NCAA Division II Defensive Lineman of the Year by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. Pribnow was Wayne State’s first All-American in football since Brad Ottis in 15 years (1993).
Wide receiver Logan Masters earned Honorable Mention honors by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and was also an Honorable Mention selection on D2Football.com’s All-American Team. Masters, Hoffman and Pribnow were all First Team All-Region selections and linebacker Ryan Reeves was a Second Team All-Region selection.
Bill Melena (Contributors): Bill Melena has been a loyal supporter of Wayne State College and Wayne State athletics since purchasing the White Dog Pub in 2005. He can be seen at nearly every Wildcat home event. His support includes a longtime corporate partnership, catering of hospitality at home football games and generously giving to the Catbacker Golf Tournament, Wildcat Women’s Open, Women’s Soccer Trivia Night, WSC Giving Day, numerous program fundraisers and special events, team meals hosting watch parties and more.
Bill is a 1987 graduate of Wayne High School and attended Wayne State College from 1987 to 1991, eventually graduating from Southeast Community College. In 1998 he joined the Army National Guard and served as a sergeant for six years. Following graduation and his service, Bill spent six years working for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services before purchasing the White Dog Pub.
Melena is a charter member of the AMVETS, active member of the Knights of Columbus and Eagles Club and a Wayne State Foundation trustee. White Dog Pub received the 2012 Wayne Area Economic Development Small Business of the Year Award. Along with his support of Wayne State, Bill and the White Dog Pub generously support many programs and events throughout the Wayne community including Wayne Community Schools, Dirt Devil softball program and Wayne Legion baseball.