For The Tribune

onr Neal recalled attending a dance in Seymour last year, and he began playing the game “Jump the River.”

“It got longer and longer, and I ended up winning, and Daniel Hauersperger said, ‘You need to try out for track.’ We were at church. we were playing Ultimate Frisbee, and I always go full out in any sport, and again (Hauersperger) said I needed to join track,” Neal said.

Neal, who attended high school in the Phoenix area until midway through his junior year, said joining the Owls track team is one of the best decisions he has ever made.

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He ran the sprints and was a member of the 400 and 1,600 relay teams this spring.

“I like the relays because I have a very strong sense of teamwork,” Neal said. “It’s a lot more motivational for me when I’m running in a team that I have to run for these people.”

Neal said he enjoyed running anchor on the 400 relay team.

“It’s easier than being the second or third positions because when you’re the second or the third guy you have to receive and hand off,” Neal said. “I just have to focus on receiving. Timing is really important. We have to get our steps exactly right. I have to know my steps with this person is 21 steps or his alternate even I have to know what his steps are so that our timing has to be perfect. You can win or lose a race just by a half-second.”

The senior also enjoyed running anchor in the 1,600 relay.

“It’s really different from the other things I run,” Neal said. “It’s twice as long as the longest individual race I run, so it’s definitely different on the pace and exactly where I have to kick in (on the exchange). You’ve got to get steps exactly right, otherwise you die on the last part. You don’t want to take off too late.

“You’ve got to watch your other guys to make sure that, depending on your place is in that heat, you definitely have to kick it in earlier or later. You’ve got to watch the other teams and see how they run, too.”

Neal said he likes the 100 better than the 200, and lane 3 is his favorite in both sprints.

“The 100 can be won or lost based on how you come out of the blocks,” he said. “Most of my work on field event days in practice, I work on blocks so I can get those down.

“I’d say I like the 100 better just because it’s more explosive. It’s go full out and then it’s over. The 200 is not as technical as the 400, but there is some technical aspect to it. Half of my running is done on the curve so I’ve adjusted to it. It’s almost become second nature. I have to do my handoff in the 400 on the curve.”

Coming from Arizona, Neal had to adjust to the different weather conditions. Neal has enjoyed his time since moving to Indiana.

“I think it’s better than (where) I went to in Arizona because it’s more of a hometown feel,” Neal said. “It’s a smaller town, everybody knows everybody. In the senior class you have three or four classes with the same person, so you can develop a friendship with those people.”

For Neal, having a strong mental game pays dividends.

“The mental aspect is, it’s just a lot of discipline and knowing your limits and knowing your body and making sure you know your limit, but you know you can push past it,” Neal said. “You’ve got help your teammates do the same. It’s a team effort. We all work on one mental aspect.”

At a glance

Name: Conr Neal

Parent: Christa Carter

Sports: Track 4 years

Favorite away track: Columbus North

Organizations: Sci-fi club

Plans after high school: Firefighting

Favorite food: Tacos

Favorite TV show: “Supernatural”

Favorite musician: Garth Brooks

Favorite movie: “Patch Adams”

Favorite book: “White Fang”

Favorite quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.