Looking out for one another

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Brittani McNeal thanks assistant coach Jody Stewart for making a difference in her career.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am if he didn’t come. He changed my whole perspective on what track really means to people and what it should mean to me,” McNeal said. “Basically, I was an individual, but when he came, he was all about the team. With him coming in, it helped me realize that I’m not just doing it for myself, but I’m doing it for my teammates, too.”

McNeal, a junior, has been a consistent scorer in her career so far. She holds the third-best long jump mark in school history.

Beyond her achievements in track and field, her commitment to being a good teammate is noted.

Stewart has high praise for McNeal in terms of her leadership and approach to track.

“I tell student athletes to give their best. At the end of the day when you leave the track, if you gave it your all, that’s what is important to us,” he said. “She has an amazing work ethic, she’s always cheering for her teammates and she leads by example.”

“In terms of supporting her teammates, she does a wonderful job and that’s key as a leader. She has all the attributes to be successful.”

Stewart’s influence on McNeal, combined with her tremendous athleticism, leads him to great expectations for her.

“I can see her being one of the greatest long jumpers of all time here at Bowling Green State University,” Stewart said. “It’s always an honor to coach great athletes who are willing to work hard.”

Before McNeal can leave a legacy in the BG program, she needs to overcome the concern about an injury that forced her to miss the first three meets of this season.

McNeal severely injured her foot in November and was unable to walk for three months after the injury. She returned to the team two days before the season opener and quickly realized she wasn’t at full strength.

She returned to competition earlier this month at the All-Ohio Championships, where she placed second in the long jump and was part of the 4×400 meter relay team that placed second.

Going forward, McNeal is confident about her ability to contribute to the team, but knows it’s possible the injury could hold her back.

She knows she needs to give the best she can and hope for the best.

“I have to fight through it. As long as I can fight through it, I’ll be okay,” she said.