In running terms, Amy-Eloise Neale is entering the home stretch of her high school career.
And what a career it’s been.
Neale, a senior, has only her spring track season remaining at Glacier Peak High School. But in 2012 — her junior track season and her senior cross country season — Neale continued to do what she has always done best.
Neale, a finalist for The Herald’s 2012 Woman of the Year in Sports award, won her third individual state cross country championship in four years in November, covering the five-kilometer course at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course in 17 minutes, 3.6 seconds. She helped Glacier Peak to its second Class 3A state championship in three years.
The race also allowed Neale to avenge a rare running disappointment — a runner-up finish to Katie Knight of North Central High School at the 2011 state cross country meet. A year later, Neale finished ahead of Knight, her future University of Washington teammate, by 41 seconds.
Also last fall, Neale won the NXN Northwest cross country championship in Boise, Idaho, and the Nike Border Clash in Beaverton, Ore., before placing eighth at the Nike National Cross Country Championship in Portland, Ore.
In May, Neale earned her fifth Class 3A state track title in three seasons by winning the 800 meters in a record time of 2:10.32. Unfortunately, a pulled hamstring muscle late in that race kept Neale from defending her state 1,600 title, where she is also the record holder.
Neale completed her junior year at Glacier Peak by being named the Gatorade Washington Girls Track Athlete of the Year for the second time. She is also a two-time winner of the Gatorade Washington Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award.