Any athlete knows that to be one of the best, they must put in countless hours of training, hard work, and practice so they can overcome the fierce challenges presented by their competitors. For Austin O’Neil, it requires a lot of running. “I really enjoy running,” says O’Neil. “I’ve always had a lot of speed when it comes to sports.”
It was smooth sailing for the Hart High School athlete up until his junior year when he had another fierce competitor to overcome – his health.
“My junior year, I was off to a great start then I got sick all of a sudden,” O’Neil said. “Later on, we found out that I had mono.”
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the UCLA-bound student, it did. “Later I found out that I was anemic, which means oxygen couldn’t get to the muscles.”
It was dedication and love that O’Neil had for the sport that kept him moving, and eventually making O’Neil one of the top runners in the area. He currently holds the school record for the 800 meter run, and he also owned the fastest times in the Foothill League for the 800 and 1600 meter runs.
Despite his dominance in those two areas of track and field, O’Neil has been very helpful in trying to find ways to help his team score points. “We’ve been able to move him into various events and score points for us wherever we put him,” Hart Coach Larry David said.
Austin O’Neil has signed a partial-track scholarship to UCLA. He wants to attend the Westwood school because of the quality education they provide. “They have one of the top educations you can get. That’s what made my decision,” O’Neil said . “Getting a good education is very important to me.”