DSU senior Jennifer Hartman will cap an outstanding 2-sport career this weekend at NAIA track and field championshipsJennifer Hartman has left a unique legacy in four years at Dickinson State. Though never a NAIA All-America selection — at least not yet — Hartman has made a name for herself as a two-sport standout, scholar-athlete, school-record holder and, probably most of all, one of the happiest people ever to grace Wienbergen Hall.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Jennifer Hartman has left a unique legacy in four years at Dickinson State.
Though never a NAIA All-America selection — at least not yet — Hartman has made a name for herself as a two-sport standout, scholar-athlete, school-record holder and, probably most of all, one of the happiest people ever to grace Wienbergen Hall.
“She exemplifies what we want to be about as a program,” DSU track and field coach Pete Stanton said. “She comes to work every day, ready to go. She does well in the classroom. She’s a good person, a good leader and a good teammate. Those are all things that make her very successful.”
Hartman, in her senior season as an athlete, is in the final days of a career as a star on the volleyball court and in track and field for the Blue Hawks.
At DSU’s final home track meet of the season on May 10, Hartman broke a 30-year-old school record in the long jump, formerly held by Gail Havelka, with a leap of 19 feet, 2¾ inches.
She is qualified for this week’s NAIA national championships in the long jump, triple jump (37-9½) and the high jump (5-5). Her long jump ranks fifth in the NAIA, putting her well within reach of an All-America finish. The meet begins Thursday in Marion, Ind.
However, Hartman said this season — her whole career really — was something she never expected.
“The best word I would use is surprising. I really didn’t think I’d ever do that good,” Hartman said. “I definitely never thought I would break a 30-year-old school record.”
As a volleyball player, Hartman was a four-year standout for the Blue Hawks.
She was the Dakota Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012 and a two-time all-DAC selection.
She endured good and bad times on the volleyball floor, including being a part of the 2011 team that shared the DAC regular-season championship. This year, as a senior, DSU finished with an 0-26 record.
“It has been a lot of ups and downs. I would say I’ve learned the most of any season this last, my senior season,” Hartman said. “I definitely wouldn’t change anything for the world. I learned more in this season than I ever had. I really learned how to be a good leader and teammate and everything, how to focus on the positives even when it seems like there were none.”
Friends and teammates say Hartman’s positive attitude, bubbly demeanor and constant smile — it’s hard to catch her grouchy — is a big reason for her success over the years.
“She doesn’t let stuff get her down,” said sophomore Hailey Schaper, DSU’s school-record holder in the high jump. “She may for a little bit and she’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m mad,’ but she doesn’t look mad. Her as a person, she’s always in a good mood, makes everyone smile and brightens everyone’s day.”
Hartman hopes that will help her make an easy transition toward coaching.
She’ll be a student assistant coach under DSU head volleyball coach Maura Bronte next fall and hopes that’s only the beginning of her coaching career.
“I know I definitely want to be involved with coaching, that’s my minor. I’d like to (be a) volleyball coach and track coach — the jumps of course,” said Hartman, an elementary education major. “It’s up in the air right now. We’ll see. You can’t really plan too far ahead. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”