By Alexander Murphy
There are very few people that have the amazing ability of combining their athletic talents with their academic success.
Mian Dingle, a fourth-year kinesiology student at Cal Poly Pomona, does just that and more.
Playing guard and forward for the Broncos, Dingle has always had a knack for the basketball spotlight.
She attributes her interest in basketball to copying her brother from a young age.
“Since day one I’ve always wanted to copy him,” said Dingle. “He started playing basketball, so I wanted to start playing basketball.”
Dingle was an early bloomer when it came to basketball, beginning with the YMCA basketball teams in the second grade. From fourth to sixth grade, she played with the San Gabriel Valley-Travel Ball Team and carried that excellence into high school basketball.
“In high school, basketball came so easy to me,” said Dingle. “I didn’t think about [how I played the game].”
But in transitioning to the collegiate-level, Dingle had to strengthen her “mental toughness.”
Dingle defines mental toughness as having a strong view of yourself and your performance on the court, and not letting anything or anyone get to you.
“All the girls here at the college-level have the talent and have the skill,” said Dingle. “But the main difference is whether you have that mental toughness, and playing college ball, you definitely develop that mental toughness.”
Dingle enjoys playing the game. She describes the rush she feels when playing a game as almost entrancing.
These moments are a highlight of playing basketball for Dingle, and keep her motivated while balancing schoolwork and practice.
“When you’re in the zone, you don’t hear the audience and you feel like everything’s coming easy to you,” said Dingle. “You’re hitting all your shots, playing good defense. It’s just fun to play the game.
“Once you get into the zone, nothing else matters.”
Dingle practices four hours daily with the women’s basketball team.
They undergo a schedule of film sessions, lifting weights, and ball practice.
This season, Dingle is averaging 5.8 points per game, shooting 48.9 percent from the field. Her highest point total this season was 17 in a game against Academy of Art.
Although the hours are long, the team does not practice much during the playing season.
Considering the balance between her grades and her significant involvement in basketball, Dingle has had to make a few sacrifices to keep a competitive profile.
“Managing my coursework and basketball is definitely hard,” said Dingle. “It’s pretty much good grades, no social life or social life and terrible grades. You just have to pick one or the other, and I chose good grades.”
Dingle has earned a spot on the California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic Team for maintaining above a 3.4 GPA for the 2011-12 academic year, and has continued to maintain academic excellence while being a competitive player at CPP. She earned those same honors after the 2013-14 academic year.
Dingle feels that while college athletes have large commitments, they are students first with the ultimate goal of graduating.
While Dingle does not see herself playing basketball in the future, she is not against the idea of it happening.
“If basketball is in the future, I’m all for it,” said Dingle. “But as of right now, I don’t think it is.”
Rather, Dingle hopes to apply her knowledge and skills to occupational therapy where she wants to help those undergoing rehabilitation from sports injuries.
In her final academic year with only a few quarters until graduation, Dingle is also in her final year of playing for the women’s basketball team at CPP.
“Playing college ball has been a blessing,” said Dingle. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” said Dingle.
Currently, Dingle is working towards being certified in personal training, and will be working during the summer and researching occupational therapy graduate schools.
Racieli Andrada / The Poly Post
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