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BHSU Alumna Reflects on Her Induction Into Hall of Fame

Courtney McCleary

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Nikki (Underwood) McDaniel smiled from ear to ear as she revealed her brand new 2017 Cadillac XT5. What made it unique was the Mary Kay emblem and its iconic shade of pink. McDaniel and her unit earned the infamous Pink Cadillac, for the first time Rapid City’s seen in over 10 years.

“It was absolutely incredible. It was the best feeling knowing my hard work paid off and the sacrifices I made were all worth it,” sighed McDaniel. “There are always going to be negative things that are going to happen but I wanted this so bad and I had such a big reason for earning it that I couldn’t let anything negative consume me. Being positive was a choice I had to make.”

Prior to her Mary Kay journey, McDaniel was enrolled at Black Hills State University from 1999-2003. She majored in broadcasting and minored in both speech and business communication. During her enrollment, she ran track and cross country and was a ten time All-American champion. McDaniel was inducted into the BHSU Athletics Hall of Fame during 2016 Swarm Days at the Hall of Fame Banquet. Her accomplishments include three individual awards; cross country, indoor 1000m, outdoor marathon and seven relays and she was a national champion in the marathon in 2003.

“I wasn’t really a naturally talented runner but I loved to run and I was willing to work for it. So I worked hard and that led to a national championship, along with having a great coach to help me,” she said.

McDaniel revealed that running helped her gain determination, perseverance, and bounce-back ability.

“If you had a bad race, and you have another race, you can’t have a pity party because you have to be back at the starting line again in an hour. You just have to shake it off and start fresh,” she said.

McDaniel compared her experience of running to her Mary Kay business. “When you get knocked down you have to get back up and keep going and bounce back. It taught me discipline. You have to run on the days you don’t feel like it and its snowing and down pouring. You have to do it whether you like it or not. Even though I don’t have a career in what I went to school for, you still use the knowledge like I use every day in my business.”

According to Steve Meeker, Vice President of University Advancement and who has worked for BHSU for 31 years, “People are inducted into athletic hall of fames because of their athletic performances. The Hall of Fame is the ultimate accomplishment in one’s individual athletic career. Nikki is very deserving and we are all very proud of her accomplishments.”

McDaniel was one of seven athletes inducted along with her husband, Mike McDaniel. She smiled in excitement at the mention of her induction.

“I think of all the hundreds of athletes that have walked through the doors at BHSU every single year, and so to know that they thought of me is just such an honor. It really means a lot to me and I’m humbled that they chose me to be inducted because it is a big deal and so I feel very honored.”

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BHSU Alumna Reflects on Her Induction Into Hall of Fame