Like many of our student-athletes, Jacob Naegeli's first interaction with Earlham was not through sports. The Montana native was searching for a metalsmithing class to take between his sophomore and junior years of high school and found such a course offered through Earlham's Explore-a-College program.
"My uncle (Ben Scherzer '02) often spoke about Earlham, so I came across the country," said Jacob. "I developed friendships with art instructor Nathan Jones as well as cross country coach Pat Thomas."
Now, Jacob is an art major with a focus in metals, and he hopes to minor in mathematics or biology.
As far as his athletic endeavors are concerned, a two-year commitment of preparation has paid off in all-conference and all-region awards in men's cross country for the 2010 season.
"I started taking my off-season training more seriously after my freshman year," said Jacob. "The past two summers I've worked on a crew maintaining 240 miles of trail at Kootenai National Forest near my parent's ranch in northwest Montana. Every week, I was consistently covering 40 miles on the trails and running an additional 50 miles."
Jacob was the Earlham's top runner in every meet during the 2010 season. He earned All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference first-team honors with a fourth-place finish in the league meet at Versailles, Ky., on Oct. 30, and then concluded the campaign with a 28th-place finish in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional at Holland, Mich., on Nov. 13.
"Jacob has been real intelligent about his training, increasing his workload gradually," said Quakers head coach Pat Thomas. "He has made outstanding progress over an extended period of time and is now one of the better runners in conference and region."
Jacob has a more certain eye toward his senior year. "As a team, I'd like to see us push ourselves to a better finish in the conference," he said. "I'm going to be upping my mileage with a goal of winning the conference meet, and Coach Thomas believes I also have a good shot at making it to Nationals."
With no certain plans after graduation, he could see himself teaching or continuing his work with the National Forest Service.
Jacob Naegeli 2012
Hometown: Trout Creek, Mont.
Major at Earlham: Art
Interests: Metalsmithing, Cross Country, Track