While the sports world was buzzing over national signing day for college football on Wednesday, Neosho High School was busy sending its fifth high school athlete to college in the past week, as soccer standout Paige O’Neill inked a letter of intent to continue her career with Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo.
O’Neill said she’s excited to contribute to the Lady Miners’ program, where she’ll see time as a holding-mid under coach Joe McCauley. But while she’s looking forward to continuing her soccer career, the big draw for her was academics. She currently sits second in her class at NHS with a 4.4 GPA, and says she plans to pursue a chemical engineering degree at S&T.
“I’m really exicted to go to S&T, because it’s a really good opportunity for me playing soccer and getting a good education,” O’Neill said. “The academics of the school were what drew me there. That’s what I want to do, so why go anywhere else?”
Make no mistake, O’Neill is also a standout on the pitch, where she has garnered all-conference and all-district honors in all three years at NHS. She also has been a standout for her club team, the Northwest Arkansas Lightning 95 Girls, under coach Doug Estrada.
She’ll again be a vital part of the Lady Wildcats’ team in this, her senior season. Wildcats coach Steve Schnackenberg said O’Neill’s pride in Neosho soccer, and herself, is unmatched.
“She worked endlessly on getting better,” Schnackenberg said. “She spent time alone at the field, often just running or handling a ball or shooting.
“She is a great leader, and is always looking to make the people around her better,” he added. “Her skills are evident to her hard work, and she knows what to look for and how to run the field.”
O’Neill is the daughter of Robbin and Mike O’Neill.