Posted: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 5:09PM

Athlete of the Week: Central's Tavion Neal, Track




It’s not often that a skilled three-sport athlete suddenly shows up in your weight room. But that’s how Central Bulldogs coach Pete Hanson described the first encounter with senior Tavion Neal.
“He came in one day during our offseason program,” Hanson said. "Looking at him, he was an impressive-looking kid. You always wonder, 'Can you play? How much of an athlete are you?'"

Turns out, Neal could play multiple sports.

Neal’s Central athletics career started on the football field, where he led the Bulldogs in receiving with over 600 yards and six touchdowns.

Hanson said Neal’s statistical numbers could’ve been better, but he battled injuries and also filled in at quarterback for a short time.

Playing at receiver was relatively new to Neal, who said he played defense during his time in Springfield, Ill. Neal moved to Springfield, Mo. last summer to live with his mom, who has lived in this area for about five years.

With a new Central football coach in Hanson, Neal said he wasn’t too far behind his new teammates.

“We had new offensive plays and everything, so everyone else was learning, too,” Neal said.

When football season was over, Neal hit the hardwood where he worked with a relatively young varsity squad. He averaged seven points per game and led the team in rebounding.

"I wasn't scoring as much as I should," Neal said. "But I was trying to get my teammates involved, at least the younger ones like D’Angelo Bedell and Tre Robinson.”

Added Hanson: “I didn’t know (Neal) could dunk as well as he did.”
 
Neal’s now in track, where he might be at his best. He’s already ran 15.9 in the 110 hurdles, and triple jumped 46 feet.

Hanson said he wishes Neal had some eligibility left.

"Quite frankly, as a coach, I was wishing we had a couple more years with him," Hanson said. "But it was just nice to have him turn out to be not only the athlete he is, but the kid he is. He's a great kid, a great individual to be around."

Neal was a football, basketball and track athlete in Springfield, Ill. as well.

"I was just coming in here trying to compete," Neal said. "That's what I love to do. I love to compete. I'm a competitor."
 

Filed Under :  
People : Pete HansonTavion Neal
Photo Galleries

Pictures: Pleasant Hope 8, Rolla 3


The Lady Pirates top Rolla in nonconference action.

Pictures: New Covenant Academy vs. Galena


New Covenant Academy defeated Galena in volleyball on Tuesday by a score of 2-1.

Pictures: West Plains 1, Lebanon 0


The Zizzers blanked Lebanon in Ozark Conference action Tuesday night.
Videos
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Week 2 Football Recap
Who were the big players from Week 2 football? What do you have to look forward to in Week 3. I cover it all here. See all of Week Two's top plays in the video above. Big Man on Campus Johnny Healy, Mountain Grove – Often...
Read More
5 Takeaways from Mizzou's win over SDSU
Mizzou opened its football season with a 38-18 win over FCS opponent South Dakota State on Saturday. Here are five things I am taking away from the first game of the season. PICTURES: MIZZOU VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - CLICK HERE 1. It is a good thing...
Read More
Win or lose, 2014's the turning point for Bears' program
 The freshness of a new season offers a chance for a fresh start, hope and the promise of a better future.   And if you’ve been a Missouri State football fan or follower for any part of the past two and a half decades, you know no team...
Read More
Most Viewed