Neal places fourth at state wrestling championship


Brett Lieberoff

Austin Neal (11) finishes fourth in the 145 lb. weight class at the state wrestling championship in Columbia, MO on Feb. 21.

A new name is going up on the wall of the multi-purpose room; for the second year in a row, OHS has a wrestler ranked in the top five in Missouri.

After finishing the regular season with 44 wins and only seven losses, third-year wrestler Austin Neal (11) placed fourth in the 145 lb. weight class at state the weekend of Feb. 20-22. To win this, he endured three days of grueling matches with competitors from all over the state, including rivals from previous matches. In the end, Neal managed to defeat Grant Ardito from Ray-Pec, Tyler Woolbright from Fort Zumwalt West, Jacob Brune from Jeff City, and Alex Wier from Lafayette.

“Ever since I missed weight at state last year, my goal was to make it back to the state tournament and place highly,” said Neal. “All off-season, I worked super hard in practices and in tournaments. My goal was to be the best in and out of the wrestling room. Although I didn’t get on top of the podium over the weekend, I sure did better than previous years.”

Neal was one of two OHS wrestlers last year to qualify for state. Dominic O’Neil placed fifth in the 138 lb. weight class in 2014. Neal, however, failed to make weight and was not able to participate last year.

Under the leadership of head coach Brett Lieberoff, Neal proved that OHS was a force to be reckoned with, and at the end of the day he had a lot to show for his hard work. On his Twitter following his achievement, Neal acknowledged his successes this season but says that he “wants it all next year” and that he is already looking forward to making a run at a state championship his senior year.