Ben Nealy pushes forward into season
Ben Nealy, a junior on the Carnegie Mellon track team, hails from Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey, where he began running in his junior year of high school.
Currently, Nealy runs middle distances — 400 meters and 800 meters. Since joining the team, Nealy has enjoyed being a varsity athlete at Carnegie Mellon. “Having chosen the option of going to an academically competitive school, while also being able to balance being an athlete as well is a great experience,” Nealy said.
Although track is not a team sport in the traditional sense, Nealy spends a lot of time with his teammates. “Ben is a team player who not only likes to push his teammates but be pushed by them,” said track coach Dario Donatelli.
His teammates agree, and value Nealy’s ambitions for the team as a whole. “Ben’s greatest qualities as an athlete are his commitment and ambition,” said junior Evan Gates, one of Nealy’s teammates. “Each year he has trained harder than the previous by logging more miles and workouts. As a result, he continuously improves and entices others to train harder, too. Ben is a great teammate because he leads by example and places a high value on the success of the team.”
“Nealy’s a great teammate to have. He adds a lot to the goofy team personality, works hard, runs fast, and does so with swagger. It’s hard to not get along with Ben; he’s fast, fun, and friendly,” said junior Billy Littlefield, one of Nealy’s teammates.
Unsurprisingly, Nealy has set high expectations and goals for this year’s team. “I think our current team is a lot better than last year’s team,” he said. “We have the talent to place first at UAA’s this year, that should be our goal as a team, and I hope to contribute to that goal.”
Nealy takes pride in his training and competition, and basks in his team’s success. “My proudest moment on the team was coming from behind to beat Case Western Reserve University by a point last year,” Nealy said.
As for when the team is in between training and meets, Nealy described the chemistry among teammates and how they relax. “There are entirely too many [funny moments] to choose from. There are so many great personalities on the team, you’re always in for a good laugh,” he said. After meets, he and his teammates love to indulge in pizza. “Post-meet pizza. There’s nothing like binging on pizza after a long day on the track.”
Since track meets are often long, Nealy loves to play games in between sets to entertain himself. “I enjoy playing board games with the team, like Bananagrams,” he said.
At Carnegie Mellon, Nealy studies economics and public policy. In the future, he hopes to earn enough money to buy Carnegie Mellon an indoor track facility.