Having a job, managing homework for five AP classes, and being the top cross country runner at the school sounds like an exhausting life for the average student. However, for Sam Nealon (‘24), this is his typical Monday night. You might know Sam by seeing him walk around with his big backpack and lunch box […]
Having a job, managing homework for five AP classes, and being the top cross country runner at the school sounds like an exhausting life for the average student. However, for Sam Nealon (‘24), this is his typical Monday night.
You might know Sam by seeing him walk around with his big backpack and lunch box filled with various snacks. You might have also seen him dominating the Spikeball competition during lunch, begging for more challengers to come forward so he can beat them.
Sam is an ultimate competitor. “I love winning”, he stated when asked about why he loves the game of Spikeball.
That isn’t the only thing Sam does love, as he expresses his one true love: running.
“I think it’s also fun because I’m good at it”.
He is also very confident in his abilities as he is well aware of being the best on the team “by a lot.”
But this wasn’t always the case, as he was chasing for that number one spot his sophomore year. He eventually would get that spot his junior year and did not look back.
“He’s taken it to a whole different level, which is really cool”, CB Cross Country Coach Mr. Danny Delgado ‘79 adds.
Sam loves cross country and really enjoys the environment, his teammates, and the competitive aspect of the sport. From the two years I’ve run cross country and the three years of track I’ve run with him, he’s always been the hardest worker, and most of the time, the best runner out there.
“He’s really dedicated to cross country”, teammate Preston Rabey (‘24) affirms.
He also contributes a lot of what he does and accomplishes to his parents. “I would say I have almost perfect parents,” he claims, adding that they’ve always been there to help him when he needs it or to get to that next level in either cross country or track.
Although he’s self-proclaimed the best, he still has given himself a tough challenge for the season.
“I want to break 16 [minutes] in the 5k [race]”, Sam declared.
He was backed up by his varsity teammates, Lucas Carrillo (‘24) stating, “I think it’s very possible”.
“I think he can go sub-15 [mentions],” Preston ambitiously mentions.
“If we can manage Sam’s training I don’t think it’s a question that he’ll break 16 [minutes], I really don’t,” Coach Delgado says.
As well as being an amazing runner he has also proved to be an amazing friend as well as an interesting person.
“Really great friend to me as well”, Preston says.
“He’s always there to talk to,” Lucas says. “An overall good guy.”
“He’s a little quirky, but I think anybody who puts that kind of effort he does into running is going to be a little different”. Coach Delgado mentions.
Sam loves his food and eating. One place he knows is always good is In-N-Out. This is a key go-to place for him because he works there. He really likes his job, as he has worked there for over a year, and because of the people that he works with, he’s always been able to come into work and expect a great time.
Given his love for food and eating, he of course has his specialty order that he always gets: a double-double animal style, no lettuce or tomato with “extra extra” grilled onion, extra spread, with protein lettuce instead regular lettuce because it is “bigger and crunchier.”
He also adds on an animal fry with extra spread, extra grilled onion, along with extra cheese. To wash it all down, he then adds on a vanilla shake.
And if he’s feeling extra hungry and really good, he’ll add on a SECOND burger, which is double meat, protein style with light grilled onions.
It’s safe to say Sam is a bit picky about his orders and when it comes to food in particular he has his favorites.
“Race days, every night before a race, my mom makes me chicken noodle soup,” he says, calling it a “race day tradition.”
“I’m a bit of a candy fiend”, the senior also adds. He told me about these exclusive Mike and Ike’s that he rarely sees anymore called, “Sour-licious Zours”.
Sam, however, isn’t just running and Spikeball. Going into senior year with college on the horizon, he’s also focusing on his five AP classes and all the rigor that comes with it. The class he looks forward to most is his AP Literature class.
“My boy Preston always has some hot takes”, Sam mentions when talking about the AP Lit discussions.
Sam is a big reader. So much so that when he has his downtime or before he’s going to go to bed, he does some of what he calls, “pleasure reading”.
“Books I read when I was really little just chucking a little reread, so no classic literature for me,” Sam laughed while mentioning.
If one thing is for sure, it’s that Sam has a lot on his plate during this time of year — and we’ve only just begun the school year. It’ll be interesting to see what the cross country season has in store for him as well as his life in general.