University of Indianapolis junior Track and Field distance runner Ben Nagel had a historic weekend at Grand Valley State University’s Big Meet, breaking a near 30-year UIndy record. Nagel won his section and broke one of the oldest records in UIndy Track and Field history, finishing the 800 meter with a time of 1:53.07. He went on to beat this record a week later at the UIndy Last Chance meet, improving it by three seconds to 1:50.33, and putting him at No. 5 in the nation in Division II for the event.
That was not the only record that fell to Nagel as he and his teammates junior Alexander Brown-Baez, freshman Devon Whitaker and senior Jacob Stamm broke the school’s previous Distance Medley Relay record a day later by more than 15 seconds with a time of 10:00.01. Nagel earned the GLVC Athlete of the Week for his performances on Feb. 12-13. When Nagel found out he received the award, he said he never expected to see this happen.
“I was pretty surprised. Coming in as a freshman, that wasn’t even on my radar,” Nagel said. “It was really exciting to see all my hard work, consistency and training come through. Getting an award like that is really cool.”
According to UIndy Athletics, the previous record for the 800 meter was set by Dean Rich in 1992 at 1:54.90. Nagel is no stranger to success; he is also a 2020 Brother James Gaffney Award honoree as well as a 2x Academic All-GLVC, according to UIndy Athletics. Nagel’s teammates, as well as his coaches, have praised his work ethic. Head Cross Country Coach and Track and Field Assistant Coach Brad Robinson was happy for Nagel and his teammates.
“I’m thrilled for Ben, and this is one of those benchmarks that can move this program in the positive direction,” Robinson said.
Robinson said that one of Nagel’s strongest qualities is his work ethic. He said that his energy and personality help draw in his teammates and push them to be better athletes and people.
Robinson said what makes Nagel different from others is his ability to focus on his goals without relent. According to Nagel, he has many more goals he wants to accomplish before the end of the year. He said there are no specifics but that the fans are in for a treat.
“Ben’s pretty fearless, he’s not going to back down from a challenge,” Robinson said. “He runs hard but he runs at his best when he’s got somebody to chase down; that’s when the magic happens and he takes himself to another level that he hadn’t been to before.”
Nagel said that, so far in his career, the memory he cherishes the most is the 800 meter race at conference last year. According to Nagel, during this event he went from last place and worked his way to third, earning himself his first conference medal. During this moment, Nagel said he could not believe he won a medal, surprising himself yet again as well as surpassing his own expectations that he set for himself his freshman year.
Nagel said his preparation is different for cross country and track. He said he prepares by running miles during the summer and that he has run up to 85 miles in one week. He said he also prepares by doing workouts during the weeks and running as many miles as he can to prepare for the upcoming season. Nagel’s work ethic has led him to success during his time at Uindy as well as in high school. According to Nagel, he beat a near 40 year record in the 800 meter in high school as well.
“That was pretty cool to have that parallel from high school to college,” Nagel said. “I would have never expected this is where I would be.”
No matter what Nagel does, according to Robinson, he will continue to find success. Robinson said he has high hopes for Nagel and he is pretty confident in Nagel’s future. Nagel said he continues to surprise himself and the coaching staff by surpassing his personal goals, as well as expectations set by the team. According to Nagel, his teammates push him and will tease him if he does not do his best.
“Ben [Nagel] will be very successful no matter what opportunities he has in his life,” Robinson said. “He is very motivated, and always looking for ways to challenge himself but doing it in a positive way.”