Gabe Fendel is a senior at Hamilton Southeast High School and is currently ranked #4 in the MileSplit national cross country rankings. While the rankings are just that - a ranking; Fendel has goals that far exceed being just the fourth best high school athlete this season. In our sit down with Fendel over the summer he was very clear of his goal - to win the Foot Locker national championships in December. Last year he finished 12th with only two other underclassman ahead of him.
“Winning Foot Locker would be a dream come true,” stated Fendel. While last fall, which included a second place finish at the Indiana state championships, was by all means a success he ratcheted things up this past spring and moved himself up on the national radar and into the crosshairs of every major collegiate running program in the country as the recruiting season opened up in early July.
In April he competed in the always hyper-competitive Arcadia Invitational in California. In California he set the tempo through 2400m and ran to a 10th place finish, running 8:50.21. The time landed him at #5 on the Indiana all-time list behind Futsum Zienasellassie, Ben Veatch, Rudy Chapa, and Tim Keough and ahead of names like Christian Wagner, Chris Walden, and Carey Pinkowski. But his “top 5 crashing” was not done as he exploded at the Indiana state championships winning the 1600m in 4:04.70. The time again placed him #5 on the all-time list and he now joins Zienasellassie and Chapa as the only three athletes to currently rank in the top five in both the 1600m and 3200m.
Fendel was born in Indianapolis but moved to Seattle at the age of six when his father, John, took a job with Brooks. The family returned to Indiana at the end of his eighth grade year. But it was in Washington that he found running. At first it was a way to get in shape for soccer (he played select on a travel team). His first running experience was in 1st grade in the school’s cross country class where was beating kids in 6th grade during workouts. He would gravitate to joining a local club, the Cascade Striders, and as a sixth grader finished third in the 11-12 division at the 2011 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in South Carolina. At that point he was only running 2-3 times a week as his parents wanted to ensure his entry into the sport was gradual and fulfilling. After the Junior Olympic race he was hooked. Two years later he finished second in the 13-14 division in Texas.
His freshman year he ran 20-25 miles a week and built that to 30-35 his sophomore year and 40-45 last year. The plan is to slowly up that his senior year and get him in the mid 50's so the transition to college is smoother and he can continue to grow and improve.
Fendel comes from a running family. His mother Solange de Souza competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games; representing Brazil in the marathon. She had career bests of 1:12 (half marathon) and 2:34:51 (marathon). His father John finished second at the 1990 Indiana State High School Cross Country championships in 1990 running for Warren Central and then ran at Ball State University. His uncle Vince held the 1600m and 3200m school records at Warren Central in the late 80s before John broke them.
So let’s get to know Gabe Fendel beyond the his times and stats.
I grew up around running. I didn’t start running competitively until 6th grade and I started to race USATF meets for my club team in Washington state. I never really trained like a lot of the kids did. I only ran 3 times a week including racing and an average of about 15 miles a week. I didn’t start to train everyday until High School.
I grew up playing soccer and I loved it more than running and I was pretty good but my parents kept telling me how I was so much better at running and that one day I was going to have to make a decision on what to pursue. As I got older and the more I raced, I started to realize how my parents were right and that I was so much better at running than soccer.
Winning state in the 1600m, running 4:04 and almost breaking the state record. Not far behind are this year’s Arcadia 3200m and last years 1600m at state getting 2nd behind Veatch.
Its a really big honor especially to do it only as a junior it sets some huge goals for next year and beyond.
I have dual citizenship US and Brazil. My mom ran in the 1996 Olympic marathon and qualified for the 1992 Olympics in the 10'000 but due to budgetary reasons they only took the top runner.
I like any combo of 400 repeats, my best was last year before the Brooks PR meet. I did 2 sets of 4x400 and went 59, 61, 61, 60 4 min recovery and then did 59, 59, 58, 54
I started off running 20-25 my freshman year, 30's last year and around 40 this year. I plan to up it this coming XC season and summer in prep for college and will probably be around 55-60
In Indiana - Fort Harrison State Park. In Washington The Watershed. it has the best trails to run on.
Steak or seafood
Salty's its a very good seafood restaurant in Seattle
Hip hop/rap and alternative
No I don’t listen to music on runs
Breaking Bad and Friends
Justin Bieber I feel like he’d be a fun guy to hang out with
Matthew Centrowitz or Eric Jenkins
Sub 1:50, sub 4, sub 8:40, Footlocker champion
Definitely Foot Locker champion
No, not yet.
Colorado, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, and Oregon.