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O’Neal helps Shorter take track title

By Ken K. Green Barnesville native Allen O’Neal helped the Shorter University men’s track team to its second consecutive NAIA national championship as a member of the Hawks 4×800 meter relay team that got second place at the meet at the Indiana Wesleyan University Outdoor Track Complex in Marion, Ind. O’Neal and his teammates ran the fastest time in their qualifying heat at 7:44.01 and ran a 7:30.45 in the finals for runner up to Aquinas College of Grand Rapids, Mich. O’Neal, running the third leg of the race, got the baton with the Hawks in third place. When he handed off after running a team and personal best split time of 1:51:10 Shorter was tied for the lead. The Hawks scored 93 points at the meet, 24 points better than runner up Asuza Pacific, for their second national title in as many years. O’Neal, a graduate student and redshirt senior, did not take part last season due to illness. The 2006 graduate of Lamar County Comprehensive High School, where he not only took part in track but played football and soccer, was a member of the Hawks inaugural football team in 2006 but decided to concentrate on running track and cross country and studying. He has graduated with a degree in accounting and is now working on his MBA. Upon completion of grad school, O’Neal would like to find a job in the Nashville area where his girlfriend works but he says if the road leads him back home he would like to help his old coach Will Rustin coach middle and long distance runners on the Trojan track team. Over the weekend, O’Neal competed in the Music City Distance Festival at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in the 800 meter individual run, finishing 18th out of 20 runners with a time of 1:53.47. The top time was 1:47.55.

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