John "JJ" Neece: 2019 Male Athlete of the Year


John “JJ” Neece appears unassuming in casual conversation. But once the uniform comes on — be it football, basketball or track — his athletic spirit is relentless.

In football, the Mapleton sophomore was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, a notion underscored by the 483 yards he racked up in a single game — primarily from the quarterback pocket.

Neece also was named First Team All-League as a linebacker.

On the hardwood, Neece was the team’s leading scorer and an all-league honoree who was every team’s worst nightmare on both ends of the court.

This past spring, Neece moved into track and field, where he advanced to state in four events after winning the 100 meters, long jump and triple jump, and placed second in the javelin. At state, Neece placed fourth in both the javelin and 100 meters, was seventh in the triple jump.

Along the way, he was KCST’s Athlete of the Week 5 times.

Despite such outstanding individual performance, Neece says the biggest lesson he has learned from athletics has been “that a team is more important than yourself, and that leadership and sacrifice are how you get places as a unit.”

When not competing, Neece enjoys more artistic endeavors, where he has earned “Outstanding Achievement” nods in both language arts and drama.

Heading into his junior year next season, Neece has plenty of time to decide on what he wants for his future — as well as time to set more personal and school records as a three-sport athlete. But much like his unassuming personality, he says he sees a future in either the NFL or archeology. Whichever direction he takes, he will surely break new ground.

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