Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports

December 18, 2012

Neeleys commit to Indiana

Twin sisters will run XC and also track for Hoosiers.

GREENTOWN — Bethany and Brittany Neeley both admit that, if not for their running careers, they probably wouldn’t have as many friends.

Even more so than the titles and school records they’ve racked up during their athletic careers at Eastern, the twin sisters value the feeling of being part of a family atmosphere in every facet of life.

They enjoyed that luxury as members of the Comets’ cross country, basketball and track and field careers over the last four years. They found a similar setting in Bloomington on their official visit to Indiana University, and the rest is history.

The coveted runners have announced they will continue their cross country and track and field careers with the Hoosiers, ending what was an exhaustive search that including trips down countless miles of highways.

“The most influential people in our lives over the past four years of high school have been [through sports],” Brittany Neeley said. “Indiana definitely has that ‘home’ feeling that no other college had. It really has a supportive atmosphere down there, especially since all the sports are nationally ranked. Everyone is pretty successful down there, and there’s a great Christian atmosphere down there that Bethany and I were both looking for. The Christian values stood out there more than any other school that we visited.”

The decision on where they two would go to college was going to, first and foremost, boil down to which school would take both of the sisters. Splitting up for college was never a serious option for the close-knit pair.

“I feel comfortable with where we’re going, and the teammates we’re coming in with,” Bethany said. IU’s recruiting class also includes Chanli Mundy from Terre Haute North and Corinne Comminator from Northridge, athletes the sisters have developed  friendships with on the running circuit over the years.

“It’s a good feeling to know I’ll have my sister and friends around. [Brittany and I] had said during our junior year that if we went to different schools it wouldn’t really be a big deal. But, really, that was never an option. We have the same opinions on a lot of things, especially what we wanted and were looking for in a college.”

The duo will finish their prep careers as two of the most decorated athletes in Eastern history, having a hand in nine school records in cross country and track. But to cross country coach Brandon Mink, it’s what the sisters do off the track and course that will leave the most lasting impressions on the school and its athletes.

“They’ve just been incredible for Eastern,” Mink said. “They’ve lifted not only the cross country, track and field and basketball programs, but just sports in general in Greentown. They’ve been leaders throughout their careers, and have brought up some of the younger athletes who are just starting to enter high school. Those kids look up and see what [the Neeleys] have done and look up to them. They are a great example for others who are following behind them. They’ve given younger kids great role models that they can emulate.”

Together, the sisters have had a hand in four Mid-Indiana Conference, four sectional and two regional titles in cross country before placing seventh as a team in the IHSAA state finals this fall.

In track and field, the Comets have captured two MIC titles in the Neeleys’ tenure. The program captured its first sectional championship in the spring with the sisters at the forefront.

Individually, few have been better. Bethany won state in the 1,600-meter run as a junior after placing second in the 800 as a sophomore and third in the 800 as a freshman. She finished fifth overall in the cross country state finals in October, and followed that up by being named the Class 1A-2A runner of the year by the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country coaches. With her senior track season still to go, Bethany holds the school records in cross country (five-kilometer), the 800, 1,600 and 300 hurdles. She, with her sister, was also part of 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams that set school records. The 1,600 team of Bethany, Brittany, Emily Wilcox and Zoe Wolfe placed eighth as a team in the 2011 state finals.

Brittany finished third in the 800 as a junior after placing fifth in the 400 as a sophomore and eighth in the same event as a freshman. She holds school records in the 200 and 400, and is the most recent Eastern girls basketball player to surpass the 1,000-point mark for her career.

The sisters are vital to a Comets basketball program that has started the season 9-1 and currently holds the No. 7 ranking in Class 2A.

“They’ve lifted the entire athletic program at Eastern in general,” Mink said. “We’re really excited for them. They’ve done their homework, and [Indiana] looks like a good fit for them. It’s great that they are staying close to home because their coaches, friends and family will all have a better opportunity to continue to watch them compete.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT041614 - Boys golf preview - secondary pic BOYS GOLF: Howard County preview Western's boys golf team is thinking big this season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT041614 Girls tennis Preview - pic GIRLS TENNIS: Howard County preview After 39 seasons and counting as the boys tennis coach at Taylor High School, Dave Wise is entering his 24th season leading the Titan girls.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041614 - Western hires coaches - mug Western hires football, volley coaches Western High School's search for a new football coach is over. Western on Tuesday named Ron Jankovich its new coach during a board meeting. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Bethel University in Tennessee. He was the Wildcats' co-offensive coordinator.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041614 - Brett Bowman column - Bowman ID BOWMAN: Abreu shines in Kokomo GP Although he might be short in size, California's Rico Abreu was tall in stature after dominating the two-day Kokomo Grand Prix for the USAC Honda National Midget Series and the Lucas Oil Powri National Midgets over the weekend at the Kokomo Speedway.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041514 - Kokomo girls BB coach - mug Cusick is Lady Kats' new coach Heather Cusick is enjoying a pretty good month. Kokomo High School on Monday selected Cusick as its new girls basketball coach. Three days earlier, she became engaged to Michael Mygrant.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 15 Gary Harris is going pro, thanks in part to coach Tom Izzo's recommendation.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wrestling teams fare well Wrestlers from Western and Peru fared well in weekend tournaments.

    April 15, 2014

  • SPL - KT041414 - Athlete of the week - mug Smith is Athlete of the Week Smith fired an even-par 72 in the Hall of Fame Tournament at Rock Hollow G.C.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Monday, April 14 Kokomo High School product Samantha Johnson collected 10 hits over a pair of doubleheaders for Grace College's softball team.

    April 14, 2014

  • SPL - KT041314 - All-Area boys basketball - secondary pic All-Area boys basketball team Kokomo boys basketball player Tayler Persons was relegated to a spectator role for the Wildkats' first 12 games of the season after tearing an ACL in a football game on Aug. 30 and having surgery on Sept. 17.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos