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Her outdoor season started with a personal-best mark of 177 feet in the javelin at the Texas Relays.

That throw kick-started what Chase Wolinski called a "dream" season.

The dream circled back to Austin, Texas, this weekend where Wolinski accomplished her greatest feat as a Nebraska track and field athlete.

Wolinski earned first-team All-America honors with a fifth-place finish in the women's javelin at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships on Friday. Wolinski, whose best throw Friday was 176-4, became the first Husker to earn first-team All-America honors since 2016 when Tierra Williams placed fifth in the triple jump and Reka Czuth took eighth in the high jump.

"It seems unreal right now and it might set in later," Wolinski said. "It feels good because it's something you carry with you the rest of your life at this point. I feel like it carries more weight than a lot of the other things that I've done."

Those who follow Nebraska athletics love a good walk-on story, and Wolinski has one.

She put track behind her after graduating from Lincoln Northeast, content on being a student and a student only at Nebraska. But after her freshman academic year, Wolinski missed track and sought an opportunity through a walk-on tryout with the Huskers.

Wolinski will tell you that her tryout was bad. But NU throws coach Scott Cappos saw her potential while watching her throw a softball.

She took on javelin and showed steady improvement. And then Wolinski popped an impressive 177 at the Texas Relays in March.

"I was mind-blown by that," she said. "I say the season's been a dream, obviously because it's gone well, but also just because I was able to stay consistent, and sometimes I feel like I'm not the one who possesses the power to do that. It just seems like it happens.

"I was afraid after Texas that it was a fluke, and I was just afraid of coming back out and trying to throw again, and then I didn't throw well at Alabama (second outdoor meet)."

Wolinski bounced back from Alabama for a strong season, which included a personal-best throw of 180-1 (fifth on NU's all-time charts) at the Big Ten Championships. It also clinched her a Big Ten championship.

A second-place finish at the regional meet followed and Wolinski entered nationals -- her first appearance at the meet -- ranked 10th in the country, and seeded second for the meet.

She overcame a tough week to finish fifth.

"I just had a difficult week in general, and so I didn't get a lot of practice time working up to the meet, and I was tired and kind of out of it when I got to (Austin)," Wolinski said. "So it was different to prepare for it. I just tried to give it all that I have with whatever I had left in me."

Wolinski was the Huskers' top finisher at NCAAs, which concluded Saturday. Texas Tech claimed the men's team title on Friday, while Arkansas took home the women's title on Saturday.

Nine Huskers earned second-team All-America honors, including York graduate Mayson Conner, who tied for 12th in men's high jump, and Chanel Freeman, who took 13th in the women's 100-meter hurdles.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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