Belmont Abbey College team grows close following loss of teammate soccer player dies after collapse

by: Blake Hanson Updated:

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BELMONT, N.C. —

A number 5 is now painted on the soccer field at the Belmont Abbey College campus in remembrance of a player who died Friday.

Michael McGuire, an incoming freshman, collapsed following a pre-season fitness test Aug. 16. He was hospitalized for several days until dying.

"I was the one helping him through his fitness test," said teammate Peter Chapman. "He kept pushing even though he kept falling down and stuff and he sat down a couple times was like 'I'm really tired.’"

School officials did not say what condition lead to the collapse and death. Teammates said he set a goal early on in the summer to pass the fitness test.

McGuire was just starting school at Belmont Abbey after coming to North Carolina from Tennessee.

Although many people on campus didn't know him, dozens have come to vigils and memorials over the past several days.

"It's just heartbreaking," said Angelina Starr, a freshman basketball player. "Like the second day and his parents go home thinking, like, 'My son's at college' and then something tragic like this happens."

His teammates told Eyewitness News that the tragedy has brought them closer together.

"I don't think any other team in the United States can say that at this point, three weeks into the season, we're already brothers," said Luke Whelan, McGuire's roommate and teammate.