Neville Sets Sights on Another Record-Breaking Season
March 30, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Coming off one of the most successful indoor campaigns of any Hoosier in recent years, David Neville has his sights set on picking up where he left off for the upcoming outdoor season. Neville, one of Indiana track and field's most decorated athletes, boasts one of IU Athletics most interesting journeys to success.
Although Neville claimed the Indiana state high school title in the 400m at Merrillville High School in Merrillville, Ind., the 6-3 sprinter came to IU and participated in the Marching Band his first year. After deciding to return to the sport he loves as a sophomore, Neville burst on the scene earning All-America honors in the 200m after finishing seventh at the NCAAs. Neville broke the 200m school record with a time of 20.92, while also being a member of the record-setting Distance Medley Relay team.
In his first outdoor season, Neville earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and grabbed the conference's Male Athlete of the Championships after running 20.39 and 45.05 in the 200m and 400m, respectively. Moreover, the rookie earned two more All-America honors with a seventh-place finish in the 400m and a 10th-place finish in the 200m at the NCAA meet. In 2004, Neville tested the waters on the world stage at the 2004 Olympic Trials in the 200m and 400m. Neville finished 17th overall in the 200m and just missed the cut in the 400m.
In his second season as a Hoosier, Neville led the men's team to a second-place finish at Big Tens after winning the 200m title and placing second in the 400m. Outdoors, Neville claimed the 400m title and earned runner-up in the 200m. Against national competition, the junior finished 19th overall in the 400m at the United States Track and Field (USTAF) Championships.
Neville captured title in both the 200m and 400m for the second time in his career in his third campaign as a Hoosier with a pair of personal-best times of 20.81 and 47.11, respectively. Neville then went on to lower his personal best in the 400m at the NCAA Championships en route to a runner-up finish. He also picked up All-America honors while snapping the school record with a time of 45.58. In the 200m at the NCAAs, Neville took sixth with a time of 20.81.
Indiana director of track and field Randy Heisler praised Neville for his excellence in two of track and field's most challenging events, the 200m and 400m.
"David ran both the 200m and the 400m at the NCAA Championships, which is an accomplishment in itself," Heisler said. "He is running better than he ever has before. It's hard to say which event he is better in because he is spectacular in both."
Neville believed several factors helped him succeed this indoor season in both the 200m and 400m.
"My main events are the 200m and the 400m," Neville said. "Some aspects of those races are similar. You have to have leg speed to run both. This fall, I really focused on endurance building rather than leg speed. Leg speed is something I naturally possess and that wasn't something I really focused on. Because of that, I focused a lot of my training and set my sights on the 400m. At Big Tens, I ran extremely well in the 200m so that sealed my decision to run both at the NCAA meet. The coaches left the decision up to me as to what I wanted to run. They want me to be successful in as many things as possible. Some athletes can only be successful if they specialize in one event, but I really felt I could score in both the 200m and the 400m. My coaches were really supportive and said it would be a major accomplishment to be successful in both."
Among Neville's highlight-strung resume, he felt his greatest accomplishment as a Hoosier came this indoor season when his 400m time of 45.58 marked the third-fastest 400m time on an indoor-banked track in the world.
"I definitely think my greatest accomplishment as a Hoosier was my run in the prelims of the 400m at the NCAAs," Neville said. "I turned in the third-fastest indoor time in the world and it was a great feeling. The whole experience at the indoor nationals this season was unbelievable and has really been a huge milestone in my career."
Heisler agreed that Neville's 400m performance at the NCAA meet in Fayetteville, Ark., provided the highlight of the indoor season.
"Although just for several minutes in the 400m, David ran the fastest time in the world and not many people can say that," Heisler said. "With the upcoming outdoor season and another whole year to compete, David is going to bring a lot of pride and prestige to Indiana track and field."
With the start of the outdoor season rapidly approaching, Neville has high expectations for himself.
"My goal for the outdoor season is to place the same, if not higher, in both events," Neville said. "I want to win at the outdoor nationals."
In addition to continuing his success at both the conference and national levels, Neville once again has his sights set on the world's stage.
"I want to make the world team this coming summer," Neville said. "Making that team is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I feel I am in a position where I can do that."
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