Hillsboro High School standout Nathan Vogel won the 400-meter dash and the 800-meter run Friday at the Mid-Central Activities Association league meet at Halstead.
Vogel bested his opponents in the 800 with a time of 2 minutes, 2.26 seconds. He led the race through the first lap before speeding up in the last 300 meters to finish first. Vogel has been running the 800 since he was in the third grade.
The 400 is his best race. He ran a time of 51.15 on Friday, breaking hard in the second turn to speed down the backstretch to finish a full second ahead of his closest competitor.
“When I really break into top gear, it feels so great,” Vogel said.
Although the senior runner started competing in the 400 as a sophomore, he set the school record in the race this year. Breaking the school record was his goal going into this season; he accomplished the feat April 20 in Goessel with a time of 50 seconds.
“It’s cool to know that I’m the best guy that’s ever come through my high school,” Vogel said in appreciation of the mark.
Vogel broke his own mark May 13 at Hesston. Vogel’s time — 48.89 — was good enough to break Hesston’s meet record, but only good enough for third place at that meet.
Vogel was facing two of the top 400 runners in the state — Morgan Burns of Wichita Trinity and Kurt Pauly of Garden Plain. Currently, Vogel is ranked second in the state in the 400 behind Pauly.
Vogel said going into the race he told himself that he just wanted to stay with Pauly and Burns, but he raced them down to the wire. Vogel pushes himself with added competition. In his record-breaking run at Goessel, he faced off with Tyler Barber of Herington.
Early in his Trojan career as a 400 runner, Vogel competed against a sprinter a year older. When he started to defeat the elder runner in the 400, Vogel knew he might have a special ability.
Not that Vogel is bursting at the seams with confidence before every race. He said that he is nervous before every meet. Since the seniors had their last day of school Thursday, the six-hour wait before the meet was agonizing.
“Every meet I think, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” he said.
Before the season, Vogel had never competed in the 800, 400, 4x400, and 4x800 in the same meet, but he stepped up to the challenge, building endurance as the season progressed.
All of the nerves flee when Vogel leaves the blocks. The only thing he thinks about is staying in front of his opponents.
“Once the gun goes off, it’s just gone,” he said of his nerves.
Vogel is slated to attend Tabor College next year and run with the Blue Jays track team.
Joel Allen – 4. 3200m, 10:34.30.
Shaq Thiessen – 4. Long jump, 19, feet, 10 inches.
Ben Bebermeyer – 5. Long jump, 19-7.
Dakota Kaufman – 2. Javelin, 105-3; 2. Triple jump, 36-.5; 3. 100m, 13.35.
Callie Serene – 2. 800m, 2:30.35.
Boys team – 6. 34 points.
Girls team – 8. 41 points.