10th Year at Penn State
Alma Mater: Penn State 1995
Former Nittany Lion captain Dayna Holston Wenger was named assistant coach at her alma mater in September 1996. A 1995 Penn State health/physical education graduate and a 1994 Academic All-American, Holston is primarily responsible for all of the throwing events. Her expertise and coaching ability were recognized as she was selected to coach the throwers for the U.S. team at the 2003 Junior Pan American Championships in Barbados. The national team appointment was the first of her career.
In 2005, Holston was named the NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track and Field East Region Assistant Coach of the Year for throwing events. She was presented the award at the NCAA Track and Field Championships where two Penn State throwers, Diana Bruch (javelin) and Jen Leatherman (hammer), earned All-America honors. Holston helped guide Leatherman, a junior transfer, to Big Ten titles in the shot put, weight throw and hammer and All-America honors in all three events as well in her first season at Penn State. Leatherman, who also won an East Region title in the hammer, set two Penn State records on the year including smashing the hammer mark by nearly 10 feet with a throw of 209-4. Bruch became the third Nittany Lion woman to earn All-America honors in the javelin in the last three years. Hoslton has now coached eight All-American athletes.
At Penn State, Holston has consistently produced excellence in the throwing events, including guiding Ja’Nai O’Connor to Big Ten indoor and Outdoor titles in the shot put in 2004. That following a fantastic 2003 outdoor season in which her athletes collected Penn State’s first NCAA field event Champion, had five NCAA finalists and garnered three All-America titles. In all, Penn State throwers have collected eight All-America certificates under Holston in her eight seasons. Holston coached athletes own all of Penn State’s throwing records both indoors and out.
Among the top athletes she has guided is 2003 NCAA discus champion Deshaya Williams. Williams, the school record holder in the discus, earned three All-America honors, two Big Ten Championships and was a 1999 Pan-American Junior National Champion during her career. Fellow 2003 All-American Brianne Johnson (javelin) also earned three All-America honors and both competed in the U.S. Senior National Championships and were selected to represent the U.S. in international competition. Williams and Carrie Karabinos (javelin) also competed at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif.
Holston has helped maintain the Penn State javelin legacy guiding both Johnson and Ashley Colley to All-America honors in 2003 and, with 1998 All-American Jen Pastore (who held the longest throw in the U.S. at 198-11 that season), collecting five All-America honors in the javelin overall. Kristen Eash joined Colley in qualifying for the 2004 NCAA Championships in the event.
With the recruitment of many young, talented athletes to the throwing squad, Holston has helped build a foundation for strong performances in the years to come and remains focused on her main goal of improving the athletes performance each year. The addition of top 2002 recruit Christen Clemson, the 2004 Big Ten runner-up in the discus, went a long way toward continuing the throwing tradition.
During Holston’s collegiate career with the Nittany Lions, the Penn State standout twice qualified for the NCAA Championships in the javelin and was also an academic All-American.
While competing for Trinity High School in Washington, Pa., she was a three-sport standout and was a W.P.I.A.L champion in the javelin with the No. 2 U.S. High School ranking in USA Today. She ranked third in the nation with a throw of 155-6. At Trinity she was coached by Penn State All-American Elaine Sobansky. In June 2000, Holston was inducted into the Washington-Greene County chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, only the second woman ever elected.
She finished third in the javelin at the 1992 Big Ten Championships and went on to finish 11th at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. She also was the 1989 and 1990 Pennsylvania State Bowling Champion, with a high game of 285.
She is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Penn State in higher education. Holston is a Level I and Level II USA Track and Field certified coach. She completed Level III Throws School in Las Vegas, Nev., and serves as the treasurer of the US Women’s Track Coaches Association at the national convention.
Holston is married to Douglas Wenger, a landscape architect at Penn State.
Penn State Assistant Coach 1996 - Present
U.S. Junior Championship Team Assistant Coach 2002 – Present
OutStanding Athletes Coached
Deshaya Williams - 2003 NCAA Champion discus thrower, 3-time All-American, Two-time Big Ten Champion, 8th at 2004 U.S. Trials.
Brianne Johnson - 4-time All-American javelin thrower.
Jennifer Leatherman - 2-time All-American, 2005 Big Ten Champion in the shot put, 20 lb. weight throw and hammer throw. Holds the Big Ten record in the 20 lb. weight throw. Qualified in three outdoor NCAA events. NCAA East Regional hammer champion.
Jen Pastore - 1998 All-American javelin thrower, holds school record (198-11).
Carrie Karabinos - 2000 Olympic trials competitor.
Ashley Colley - 2003 All-American Javelin thrower, 2004 Big Ten runner-up, 2004 Olympic Trials qualifier.
Kate Johnston - Big Ten runner-up in the hammer. An NCAA qualifier in the hammer and weight throw.
Ja’nai O’Connor - Indoor and Outdoor Big Ten shot put champion (2004) and Penn State record holder indoor and outdoor. NCAA finalist in the shot put, 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier.
Christen Clemson - 2004 Big Ten runner-up in the discus.
Diana Bruch – 2005 All-American javelin thrower.
Gigi Miller – 2005 World Championship Qualifier in heptathlon. Shot put and javelin coach.