Come see new alumnus, “The Freeze,” on KSU Alumni Night at Braves on June 1
(May 22, 2018) A recent Kennesaw State University alumnus, Nigel Talton ’17, will be on the field as an employee of Atlanta’s Major League Baseball team when the Office of Alumni Relations hosts KSU Alumni Night at the Braves on Friday, June 1.
Talton, who received his Bachelor of Science in integrative studies from Kennesaw State last December, has been working as a member of the Braves’ grounds crew since 2012. Besides taking care of the playing surface at SunTrust Park and previously Turner Field, Talton also performs in RaceTrac’s “Beat The Freeze” in-game promotion as a sprinter who races fans who are given generous head starts.
As a student, Talton trained with the KSU track team. He began running as “The Freeze” last year when the Braves moved into their new Cobb County ballpark, but is not the only person who plays “The Freeze.” The Braves do not have the promotion at every home game, but Talton did race more than 30 times last season and is scheduled to run on June 1.
Talton’s biggest claim to fame as “The Freeze” came during last year’s KSU Alumni Night at the Braves on Friday, June 9, 2017. A competitor thought for sure he had Talton beat but near the finish line, “The Freeze” flew past him for the victory, causing his startled fellow racer to fall on his chest and not even finish, which provided humorous entertainment for fans in attendance, along with some of the Braves players who were laughing in the dugout.
“That’s the day the guy was showboating and I passed him,” Talton said of June 9 of last year. “A couple of days to a week after a lot of people were trying to contact me and get interviews. I did a lot of interviews last year. It was crazy after that day.”
Talton wound up talking to journalists from the Washington Post, MLB.com and ESPN. Others who produced stories on “The Freeze” were Yahoo Sports, CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com and SportsIllustrated.com, along with local media outlets.
Besides being the subject of several stories, “The Freeze” got a lot of attention on social media as well. He received complimentary tweets from Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon, two of the fastest players in the Major Leagues.
Much of Talton’s popularity as “The Freeze” came from being a part of ESPN SportsCenter’s Not Top Ten for the week ending June 16, 2017. Talton cruising past his overly confident, stumbling competitor was the No. 1 Not Top Ten that week and ranked fourth overall for 2017 at the end of the year.
“I never thought it would blow up like this,” Talton said. “It’s a blessing and it’s fun. Seeing the kids dressed up as ‘The Freeze’ for Halloween was pretty cool.”
At the start of this season on Twitter, Talton was lauded by eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, who is considered one of the top sprinters of all time. “Too quick for me” Bolt tweeted after the Braves’ opening-day win on March 29.
“Hopefully, he can come out of retirement and run a race with me at SunTrust Park,” Talton said of Bolt. “From my personal account, I told him, ‘thanks for the respect and maybe we can race one day.’”
Originally from Fort Valley, Georgia, Talton participated in both track and football at Peach County High School. He ran track at Iowa Wesleyan University and then Shorter University before earning his degree at Kennesaw State.
“Now, I wish I could go back to college – the real world has hit me,” Talton said. “Kennesaw is a great school. I transferred there and don’t regret it at all. I met some amazing professors, amazing students and athletes there. I really love Kennesaw and it’s continued to grow, so I love to see what the future holds for Kennesaw State.”
Along with working for the Braves, Talton also holds a job with Amazon. What the new graduate is really looking for, however, is a full-time position in sports.
“I’ve been applying for a lot of sports jobs and praying that I get a job in that field,” Talton said. “I really want to be a director of player operations or a GM (general manager) one day. I want to work hands-on with the athletes.”
Another goal Talton has is to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Recently, he has focused on the Winter Games with the hope his Olympic dream comes true someday.
“I’m still training and staying in shape,” Talton said. “I’m keeping my body well-toned for bobsled and skeleton.”
“I went to Lake Placid (last August and November) for the Olympic Trials for bobsled and skeleton, and I fell in love with skeleton,” Talton said. “Right now, when the Braves are out of town, I’m training at ETSU (East Tennessee State University) to do some biomechanics.”
Coming up, Talton will be vying for a spot in the United States Olympic Committee’s “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.”
“I have a combine coming up for this show called ‘The Next Olympic Hopeful’ at the end of May,” Talton said. “If I do good there – they pick 50 men and 50 women to be on the show – then the winner of that show has the opportunity to be helped out with training.”
Time will tell if Talton ever represents his home country in the Olympics. Until then, fans can continue the enjoyment of seeing him run as “The Freeze” at Braves games.
Get your tickets today for 2018 KSU Alumni Night at the Braves. All Kennesaw State alumni, students and supporters are invited to cheer on the Braves as they take on the Washington Nationals, a National League Eastern Division rival, at 7:35 p.m. on June 1. There are three different ticket packages available with two of them including a KSU-branded Braves cap. The evening includes a pregame visit from Kennesaw State head football coach Brian Bohannon, who led the Owls to the 2017 Big South Conference championship. Finally, make plans to stay after the game for Friday Night Fireworks presented by the Georgia Lottery.
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