University of Indianapolis Track and Field is once again kicking off their season in historic fashion with multiple school records falling within the first two weeks of the season, according to UIndy Athletics. The team is already coming off of a great year, with senior Ben Nagel and graduate student Berenice Cleyet-Merle both having record years. Nagel came away with the Elite 90 Award while Cleyet-Merle captured a national championship in the 800-meter, according to UIndy Athletics. Already Cleyet-Merle has continued where she left off from last season with her taking down the 3000-meter record, according to UIndy Athletics.
Redshirt senior thrower Keeton Adams said the work the team put in will translate into the competitions. The team is looking forward to returning to the Athletics and Recreation Center (ARC) after not having many meets there last season.
Director of Track and Field Scott Fangman said the team is a good team that still has a ways to go. Fangman praises the group’s fitness and conditioning coming into the season.
“We’re about as fit as we’ve been. They [team] came that way, almost across the board, every group, because we’ve got about five different groups,” Fangman said. “That’s what I love about track. It’s a sport for everybody, tall, thin, short, I don’t care who you are. We can, a lot of times, find a spot for you. Fitness-wise, they came in some pretty good shape.”
Adams, who battled with injuries last season, said he is looking at this as his redemption year. According to UIndy Athletics, Keeton placed third in the 2021 GLVC Outdoor Conference Championship for shot put.
According to Fangman, he foresees Adams and Cleyet-Merle having a big year. Cleyet-Merle started the season as a defending national champion in the 800-meter and alongside her newly acquired school record, she owns the 800-meter record at a time of 2:06.80 and is a part of the DMR record at 11:42:87. These accolades led Cleyet-Merle to be the first Greyhound GLVC Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year becoming the first Greyhound to be selected for the award since Angelique McNeal in 2011, according to UIndy Athletics.
According to Cleyet-Merle, the national championship gave her more confidence and she looks to build on that coming into the season. Cleyet-Merle said she is excited to race after not racing since August and is very motivated to get back out there and build on her championship season.
“Now I have more confidence because last year I was careful, so this year I’m going to take more risks and I can’t wait to race,” Cleyet-Merle said.
According to Fangman, last year’s team had 17 athletes qualify for the nationals, compared to the usual average of five to seven athletes that qualify. Fangman said the team came back in better shape, stronger, rested or improved in some way. According to Fangman, the team is eager to see how good they really are this season.
“I think we’re ready. We’re definitely ready to fire a gun and see how fast we are,” Fangman said. “That’s what everybody wants. They want to see how fast we are, how far they can throw, how high they can jump, how far they can jump … you know, those kinds of things.”
According to Adams, the team looks good and has a lot of upsides overall. Adams said he is excited about the new additions to the team and said the new transfers and freshmen are a great addition to the team.
Adams said the team is feeling great and looking forward to having a regular indoor season after not having many indoor meets last year due to COVID-19. Along with this, Adams said that he is hopeful to have a high achieving team and potentially win the conference title.
“COVID[-19] and everything last year was kind of a weird indoor season with only, I think we had three meets total or four meets total,” Adams said. “Coming in and being able to actually have a normal indoor season, it’s going to be good.”