Neal is a native Californian, who placed fourth in the California State Wrestling Championships for San Diego High School, and won a Junior National freestyle title for Team California. He went on to compete for Cal-State Bakersfield, where he was a two-time NCAA champion, three time NCAA finalist and four-time NCAA All-American, competing at heavyweight.
Neal understands the pride that California takes in its wrestling, something he would like to see on display at the Forum both days of the World Cup.
“We have a lot of pride within California wrestling. We are one of the better wrestling states in the nation. We have had great champions come from California. We need to show our support for this event so we can keep bringing back the best wrestling to our state. We need to show our California pride by showing up in a big way,” said Neal.
In 1999, Neal won a gold medal for the United States in freestyle wrestling at the World Championships, held in Ankara, Turkey. He was also a 1999 Pan American Games champion in Winnipeg, Canada. He was also a U.S. Nationals champion, a runner-up at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and winner of a number of medals in foreign tournaments. Neal has been inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.