PAUL MCNEIL, Class of 2003

Class of 2003
Inducted in 2018

“He’s a competitor. He only knows one way and that’s straight ahead.” Those words spoken by Hall of Fame Wrestling Coach George Bossi were certainly appropriate when he uttered them in reference to Paul McNeil, who overcame his relatively small physical stature, and a devastating and potentially career-ending injury, to carve his niche in the Lowell High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Paul earned his place in Lowell High Athletic lore on the gridiron at Cawley Stadium, and on the LHS Wrestling room. As a member of Coach Scott Boyle’s Raider Football Team, Paul broke into the starting lineup as a strong safety during his junior season (2001 ) as the team compiled an 8-3 record. Senior year (2002), playing alongside his twin brother Jim in the defensive backfield, he blossomed into one of the key performers on the LHS defense as the team finished 8-2, while recording four shutouts. All of this despite the fact that Paul played at 5’6″ and 135 pounds.

In an incredible display of courage, Paul played the entire Thanksgiving Game versus Haverhill despite having suffered a fractured femur in practice several days prior to the game, an injury undetected until after the contest. Truly the stuff of legends. At season’s end, Paul was honored as an MVC All-Conference selection. He was the winner of the Liston Award as the Raiders’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and received the LHS Football Sportsmanship Award.

Paul broke into the LHS Wrestling lineup as a sophomore, placing 3rd at the Division I State Tournament at 119 pounds. As a junior (2001-2002), Paul was a dominant force in the competitive Merrimack Valley Conference. In the post-season, he won the 119-pound Championship at both the Division I North Sectional and Division I State Tournaments. Paul went on to place 5th at the All-State Championships.

Due to the fractured femur suffered during football, Paul did not return to action until the end of January in his senior season, (2002-2003). Incredibly he compiled an overall record of 23-2. He repeated as Division I North Sectional, and Massachusetts State Division I Champion. Paul placed 2nd at the Mass All-State Championship Meet. Paul repeated as an MVC All Conference selection and a Lowell Sun All Star. He was also named as a Boston Globe All-Scholastic.

Paul concluded his career with an overall record of 80-10. At season’s end Coach Bossi, not one to offer faint praise, remarked that most wrestlers would have taken the season off after such a severe of an injury as Paul had suffered. “You have to give (McNeil) credit. He’s just one tough kid.” At the Senior Athletic Awards ceremony Paul, was a worthy recipient of the Colleen Creegan Award presented to student athletes who, by their effort and example, serve as an inspiration to others.

In addition to Coach Bossi, Paul joins teammates Jonathan Dolan and Casey Boyle in the Hall of Fame.

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