McNeill concludes storied career
David McNeill closed out his NAU career with nine All-American awards, two 5,000-meter national championships and an All-American of the Year award for the track and field, and cross country honors in ESPN The Magazine.
“It’s bittersweet,” McNeill said when asked about the season coming to an end.
“[My best moments involve] the whole freshman year,” he added. “It was my first season, first impression with an all-star team.”
McNeill had a strong positive impact on the cross country team and showed he had potential. He was chosen 2009 Cross Country Division I Scholar Athlete of the Year and 2010 Track & Field Division I Scholar Athlete of the Year. In 2008 and 2009, McNeill was the Big Sky Conference cross country champion and in 2010 he was named NAU Male Athlete of the year.
“David McNeill is a great runner and has earned every award that he has received,” said Eric Heins, director of track and field, and cross country.
McNeill was named the Mountain Regional Athlete of the Year by the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
He is also the second person in history since 1978 to have claimed the men’s individual title at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship three straight years. The first man from Northern Arizona to win the individual title for the third-consecutive year was Rich Sliney in 1970-72.
On Monday, Nov. 22, McNeill led the Northern Arizona’s men team to Terre Haute, Ind., for the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Leading up to his last race, McNeill looked forward to closing out a strong running career with a solid finish, but, ironically, in the final race he suffered a side stitch and finished 101st at 31 minutes and 23 seconds.
“It’s the end of one year and the start of another,” McNeill said.
Next month, McNeill will be among the graduating class to receive their diploma.
Even though McNeill is graduating, it doesn’t mean that he will no longer be close to the NAU cross country team.
“Flagstaff is my running home,” he said.