When one looks at Elijah McCarty, a person doesn’t immediately find an imposing presence that greets them.
However, with McCarty’s skill set and sharp IQ — both athletically and academically — it makes no difference.
The sophomore, who has developed into a consistent top-two scorer for Shawnee State, will look to continue an upward trajectory that has seemingly continued to climb since his days as an aspiring golfer at West Union with her junior and senior seasons quickly approaching.
“It’s been a great time,” McCarty said. “I love golf and Coach Hopkins, and my teammates make it so much fun and enjoyable.”
For Shawnee State golf coach Dave Hopkins, McCarty’s made the good times happen all on his own because of his work ethic.
“It’s been fun,” Hopkins said. “Watching Elijah putting all of his 150 pounds into every swing is great to watch. He leaves nothing in the bag when he swings the club. He is another hard worker who just loves to play the game.”
From the start of his career, McCarty proved himself as an excellent student-athlete in multiple facets.
A four-sport athlete with the Dragons, McCarty earned Division III First-Team All-Southeast District and Special Mention All-State honors in basketball as a senior and was named to the All-Southern Hillls Athletic Conference (SHAC) unit after averaging 15 points per game. He also contributed in a complimentary fashion to a West Union baseball squad that won its first SHAC Conference Championship in 29 years back in the 2018 season, with the Dragons winning nine out of its first 10 games to help seal the title, and played on the bowling team at West Union as well.
However, those standout accomplishments, as strong as they proved to be, paled in comparison to McCarty’s success on the golf course.
Overall, McCarty won Division III Southeast District Player of the Year honors in golf twice and finished as the Division III Southeast District Tournament Medalist once. He qualified for the OHSAA Division III State Tournament three times as a result (twice as a member of the team and once as an individual), won the SHAC Tournament’s Medalist honors three times, and was All-SHAC during all four seasons of his high school career.
If that wasn’t enough, McCarty won the All-Adams County Cup three times and was on the All-Adams County Cup Tournament team in each of those three seasons by claiming Medalist honors.
“It was very competitive,” McCarty said of his Southeast District competition. “You never knew who was going to have a good day and finish low. You always had to bring your ‘A’ game when playing teams like North Adams and individuals like Broc Jordan (Latham Western), whether it was a sectional or district match or a regular season meeting.”
Even with a stacked field of talent in the Division III Southeast District, Hopkins knew that McCarty was a special individual that he couldn’t pass up on recruiting.
“Watching Elijah play from his junior and senior year at West Union, it was clear that he was the best player on the best team in Southeastern Ohio,” Hopkins said. “He came from one of the best programs in this part of the state, so I knew that he knew what it took to be a good player.”
McCarty’s competitiveness as a multi-sport athlete also transitioned into the classroom. Overall, he accomplished each of the above athletic feats while serving on West Union’s Beta Club and National Honor Society lists as a result of maintaining a 3.96 cumulative GPA in the classroom, all while taking College Credit Plus classes as a junior and senior in high school.
“I really enjoyed it,” McCarty said of his experience at West Union. “I love sports and meeting new people because of them. The school and entire community molded me to become who I am today.”
At Shawnee State, McCarty’s only continued to uphold the community’s faith in him as an individual by maintaining, and even exceeding, the high standards that the West Union native had set for himself.
Academically, McCarty has maintained an outstanding 3.85 GPA in the classroom while majoring in business administration. Athletically, the sophomore has hit in the 70s in 26 of his 30 career 18-hole rounds, and has finished inside the top-20 overall in 12 of his 15 career invitationals with Shawnee State — including his first Medalist honor this past fall at the Elks Country Club as part of the Roger Merb Invitational.
“It’s been amazing,” McCarty said. “Last season was some of the best golf that I’ve ever played in my life. I couldn’t have done it without Coach Hopkins and my teammates.”
“Being consistent is something that I really stress to all of our guys,” Hopkins said. “Elijah, BJ Knox and Jordan Hughes have done a really nice job. Even when things aren’t great for them to start a round, they grind it out until the end.”
As a whole, it would be hard to find an individual who is as dedicated, both on and off of the golf course, as Elijah McCarty. However, that doesn’t mean that the Adams County native is done striving for more.
“I was bummed to find out that we couldn’t have our spring season,” McCarty said. “However, I’m definitely excited and looking forward to the fall. My goal, by the end of our senior year, is for our team to win the conference tournament.”
“My hope for Elijah, going forward, is the same as for all of my golfers,” Hopkins said. “I want him to continue to enjoy the game that he loves, and to continue to improve. He has a very bright future and will become a great young man when he departs SSU.”
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.