Reagan Hall of Fame inductee Craig Engels becomes a National Champion

Sam Graham, Layout editor

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Speed. That’s what placed 2012 Reagan graduate Craig Engels into the school’s hall of fame in 2017.

As an All-State runner and holder of five school records at Reagan, as well as a state record in the mile, Engels was best known for his legs. This winning streak continued into his college career. He attended North Carolina State University but quickly realized it was not the place for him and transferred to the University of Mississippi.

At Mississippi, Engels earned numerous All-American honors on the track and started to gain massive popularity in the running community due to his unique look: a mullet and a mustache.

Despite everything Engels accomplished to get into the Reagan Hall of Fame, it’s what he has accomplished since being inducted that sets him apart from every other athlete to come through Reagan High School. An accomplishment of not one, but two national championships in the mile. The first was at the USA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in the winter and the second was this past summer during the USA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.

In Engels’ opinion, the Indoor title paled in comparison to the Outdoor title.

“It felt way more real winning the Outdoor title because everyone was in the race,” Engels said. “Indoors was missing the reigning Olympic Champion and a couple others, so it felt way more rewarding to race everyone.”

The Olympic Champion, Matthew Centrowitz, did not miss the race in the Outdoor championships, however, he did not finish first but rather as the runner-up to Engels in a close race that came down to the final 100 meters.
There are a couple of major differences between the Indoor title and Outdoor title besides just who shows up. Finishing in the top three in the Outdoor race books the athlete a flight to Doha, Qatar to participate in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field World Championships.

“This Outdoor USA title means so much more because you get to make a national team and represent your country against the rest of the world,” said Engels.

Making the the USA National team makes for a much longer season for Engels, but it is well worth it and he will be 100 percent ready to go in Doha this September, racing against the best in the world.

“I took a little bit of time off to enjoy life and the summer, then got back to training,” Engels said. “I’m currently in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland doing some altitude training and working hard every day to get ready.”

Engels is truly breathing new life into the sport both with his legs and his style. It’s exciting to see where he takes the sport as well as where the sport will take him.