Track standout Zaresha Neal named top student-athlete

The National College Athlete Honor Society has announced Chi Alpha Sigma’s 2021-22 Scholar-Athletes of the Year, with Bowling Green Track and Field student-athlete Zaresha Neal earning Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

With the honor, Neal becomes the second student-athlete from BGSU to earn the award. Aliyah Gustafson, who also competed on the track and field team, was the recipient of the inaugural award in 2019.

“It is great to have another BG XC/TF Athlete receive this honor,” said BGSU track coach Lou Snelling.

“Zaresha exemplifies the best definition of a student-athlete having achieved at the highest levels in the classroom, throwing circle, and community.”

Neal is joined by Eric Knowles of the NC State Swim and Dive program as this year’s recipients.

“We are extremely proud to award these honors to Eric and Zaresha,” said Kellen Wells-Mangold, executive director of the National College Athlete Honor Society.

“Among many strong candidates, these two student-athletes stood out in particular as true leaders in competition, the classroom, and their communities.”

Neal, a senior from Findlay, had her most successful individual campaign in 2021-22. She qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championship in the shot put, placing 13th and earning second-team All-American with a throw of 53-8½.

She also won the event at the MAC Championships, throwing 56-½. Her success carried over to the outdoor season, where she won the MAC in the discus (177-8) and finished as the runner-up in the shot put (55-5½).

Neal also won the discus at the Len Paddock Invitational, throwing a program-record 177-8. She qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the shot put, finishing 18th nationally with a mark of 54-6.

Neal and Knowles are the seventh and eighth recipients of the Chi Alpha Sigma Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Neal was named first-team All-MAC and Academic All-MAC during the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Additionally, she earned MAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week once during the indoor seasons and earned MAC Field Athlete of the Week twice during the outdoor season.

She was named BGSU’s Female Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year at the Ziggys, the athletic department’s end-of-year awards ceremony.

She has also been an active member of BGSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, contributing to athletics-related planning and advocating for student-athletes on campus and around the country.