A single, shining solitary star is born.
Redshirt sophomore Daniel McArthur of Mooresville emerged with an Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship Meet gold medal in tow for the only first-place finish by any member of the University of North Carolina program.
McArthur, who earlier this season also made Tar Heels history by setting a new personal as well as program standard in his specialty event, hurled the shot put a winning distance of 64 feet, three-and-three-quarters inches to take top podium honors at the ACC title event by in excess of four feet.
The winning toss, at the Virginia Tech Rector Field House facility, automatically earned McArthur first-team, All-ACC accolades.
The effort, in which McArthur dominated from the start, was the champion’s second-best of the season to date.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win an ACC Championship,” McArthur said. “My dad (Richard McArthur) competed in the ACC back when he was at N.C. State, so we started this journey a long time ago. He always said, ‘If you follow me, I’ll get you there.’ It’s just one of those things where it’s nice to see it finally paying off. For me to bring that home for myself and for my dad and for my family is incredible.”
McArthur, a multi-sport participant — competing in track and field, football, lacrosse and wrestling — during his student-athlete career at Mooresville High School, took the lead right off the bat, hitting 63 feet, 9 and three-quarters inchers to close out the first round. Even his shortest throw of the day — a heave covering 62 feet, 8 inches — still bested the next-best second place distance covered by three feet.
“On that first throw,” McArthur said, “I went out there and wanted to get a mark that people wouldn’t be able to contest. With NCAAs coming up, I knew I would only get three throws for sure against the top 16 in the nation. If all I was going to get were those three throws, I wanted to get my best mark out there as fast as I could.
“I know I thought in my head — and I may have said it out loud — but I knew my first throw was good,” McArthur added. “I didn’t have a great warm-up, and I had an issue where the ball kept falling out of my hand, but after that first throw I knew I was ready to compete. I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I’m here.’”
Earlier this season, McArthur also made Carolina history by setting a new personal record of 64-feet, 10 and one-half inches in the men’s shot put to break a 14-year-old school record previously held by four-time Olympian Vikas Gowda. His season best currently ranks seventh in the nation.
McArthur is expected to represent North Carolina at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, scheduled to take place March 8-9.
As it turned out, the former state high school indoor track and field champion in the shot put event was one of two from Mooresville to merit All-ACC consideration following their respective performances put forth in circuit title meet.
Current UNC junior Liam Dixon parlayed his all-time best effort fashioned in the pole vault event allowing him to clear a height of 16 feet, two-and-three-quarter inches to account for a sixth-place finish rewarded with second-team all-conference status. Aaliyah Brooke Miller was crowned the 2019 Calendar Cutie for The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. of Hickory Alumnae Chapter.
Aaliyah is the daughter of Destiny McColl and Devin Miller and the granddaughter of Lechia and Donald Nance, Jason McColl and Teresa Moser, Nicole M. Scott and Bertrand Scott, Michael Imes and Anne Imes and the great-granddaughter of Sharon Keatley and Willie and Josephine Miller.
The Hickory Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. provides college scholarships to high school graduates and helps support educational sponsored programs in counties such as Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Iredell.