February 3, 2009

Small Town Arthur Shines in National Spotlight

BANNER ELK, N.C - Junior pole vaulter, Jonathan Arthur, comes from a small town, Pine Level, N.C., but has made a name for himself by placing himself on the qualifying list for the NCAA DII Track and Field with his performance this past weekend at the Niswonger Invitational Meet.

This weekend marks the second consecutive weekend that Arthur vaulted a personal best and a school best, this time with a height of 4.90 meters, 16'1". He topped his previous personal best of 4.80 meter height by 10 centimeters set at the January 24th at the University of North Carolinas Indoor Meet.

His height currently puts him 10th on the qualifying list with more than a month of the indoor season schedule remaining. Arthur is also 13 centimeters from automatically qualifying for the championships, with the automatic height set at 5.03 meters.

"Jon did great," Lees-McRae field event coach Jason Davis said. "He had some great attempts at 5.05 meters, 16'6", and we are looking for bigger and better from him in the coming weeks."

Arthur's hometown of Pine Level, N.C., North Johnston High School, has a population of 1,524 and Banner Elk, N.C., home of Lees-McRae College, has a population of 909 people. Lees-McRae College only has 700 students, but Arthur is a standout business major with a concentration in small business and exceptional pole vaulter.

"I have loved my time at Lees-McRae," said Arthur. "The mountains are great; the weather is tough at times, but the environment, my teammates and classes have made my college experience one I will never forget."

The quiet guy from a small town has become one of the best vaulters in the country at the NCAA DII level. If Arthur continues to improve at this pace he will find himself at the NCAA DII Indoor Track and Field Championships, March 13th-14th in Houston, Texas.

Sophomore Ryan Oakes from Maysville, N.C. also has provisionally qualified for the National Championships with a jump of 15'7" inches, which currently has him on the national list at 24th overall.

"His dedication and commitment have helped him reach some great accomplishments," said Craig McPhail, Director of Cross Country/Track and Field. "Performances like this have helped us continue to build our program by achieving national recognition. Having Jon and Ryan reach such heights has been fun to watch and great for them as they have a friendly rivalry to push each other to new heights."

Their next attempt to improve will be at Appalachian State University Thursday, February 12th.

Follow along at www.bobcatsports.lmc.edu to see how they do as well as the rest of the Bobcats track and field team.