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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Sulphur's Neal follows family to OBU

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  • It's all the in family for Carleigh Neal.
    The Sulphur graduate will follow her brother and father as a track and field athlete at Oklahoma Baptist University, as Neal signed with the Bison on Thursday at Sulphur High School.
    Neal, who placed second at the Class 3A state meet in the long jump, will join her brother, Caleb, on campus in the fall. The Bison are coming off of NAIA runner-up finishes in both men's and women's track and field.
    The week after the state meet, Neal came to her decision, following in the footsteps of her brother and her father, Terry, who is a 1981 graduate of OBU.
    Neal, who considered Central Oklahoma, will also be a cheerleader for the Bison.
    "My brother and dad both went there, so that helped," Neal said.
    Neal will compete in multiple events, from the long jump to triple jump or the heptathlon. Neal's brother, Caleb, is a heptathlon athlete for the Bison.
    Terry Neal, who is the head track and field coach at Sulphur, said Carleigh has an opportunity to compete in multiple events at OBU. Carleigh Neal improved more than a foot from her junior to senior year in the long jump to earn a runner-up finish at state. Neal also competed in the pole vault and high jump for the Bulldogs.
    "She jumped pretty good and had a pretty good year," Terry Neal said. "I was pleased with her. She improved over a foot in the long jump, and decided to work on the high jump some. She started working last summer, and got really interested.
    "She never talked about running in college. Caleb talked about it all the time."
    Neal said she looks to both her brother and her father for advice. What events she'll specialize in is up in the air.
    Her father competed in the triple jump and long jump. Her brother was a state champion for Sulphur in the hurdles, pole vault and long jump.
    So, Neal clearly has options ... and a pedigree that would suggest success is coming regardless of what she chooses.
    Follow Horne on Twiter: @ekhorneARD
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