100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Conrad Nightingale, steeplechase

Conrad Nightingale.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 09:00:45-04

RAISED ON A FARM OUTSIDE HALSTEAD, Kansas — Raised on a farm outside Halstead, Kansas, Conrad Nightingale was the consummate small-town star athlete — competing in football, basketball and track and field.

He set a state record in the mile in 1963 and went to Kansas State University, where he attended veterinary school, on a track scholarship.

Nightingale won the NCAA indoor championship in the mile as a junior in 1966 and anchored the Wildcats to a title in the distance medley relay a year later.

Later his senior year, Nightingale finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 1967 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, earning his third All-American honor at K-State.

Nightingale lost to Oklahoma State’s Chris McCubbins that day, but he dusted McCubbins during the 1968 U.S. Olympic Trials at Echo Summit in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Nightingale finished third, beating McCubbins, who finished eighth, by 33 seconds to earn the final Olympic team berth for the 1968 Mexico City Games.

During the opening heat at the Olympics, Nightingale finished sixth and missed a spot in the 3,000 steeplechase final by less than 6 seconds.

Prior to the Olympics, Nightingale finished second at the AAU national meet and during the Pan American Games in 1967.

Nightingale works as a veterinarian in the greater San Antonio, Texas, area.

His hometown still hosts a track meet named in his honor. The 50th annual Conrad Nightingale Invitational took place in April 2021.

Nightingale also has been inducted into the Halstead High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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