Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman athletes assist community in tragic time

On Monday, March 31, Ryan Moberg, a DeSales Catholic High School student, suffered severe head and neck injuries when he fell to the ground after a failed pole vault attempt during practice. He was immediately taken to St. Mary Medical Center, but passed away later in the week. A memorial was held in his honor on Saturday, April 5 at his high school.

News of the tragedy reached the Whitman campus quickly and an e-mail was sent out over the varsity athletes listserv asking for volunteers to help with the memorial. The response from the athletes was quick and immense.

“As a person who has experienced a student athlete dying from our department several years back, I know that student athletes and coaches understand what the students athletes and coaches at DeSales are going through in a way that their own peers and their own friends may not,” said Head Athletic Trainer Juli Dunn, who sent out the original e-mail and co-ordinated the volunteers.

The Friday before the service, both basketball teams and the volleyball team set up the gym, putting up chairs and tables for the following day. Hours before the service, the two cross-country teams helped manage the parking lot and a handful of athletes went around during the reception afterwards making sure everything ran smoothly.

“Anything from filling up coffee, to water, lemonade or garbage just so the people from this community can use their energy to support the family,” said Dunn on the role of the Whitman athletes.

Later that night, both soccer teams came in to help take things down after a very long day.

For some Whitman athletes, the tragedy struck a personal chord.

“I have two brothers and both of them pole vault so it’s kind of close to home,” said sophomore basketball player Dawna Mello. “I was really saddened by [the tragedy] and I feel for all the community that has to go through this loss.”

“We’re a close community. We share the same fields with them. So we’re a lot closer than most Whitman students think or know,” said senior soccer player Max Weber.

As a result, the community was very thankful for the athletes’ presence even if the athletes themselves couldn’t be sure they were having an effect.

“I do my thing and that’s about it. I refill the water,” said Weber of his involvement. “It’s just nice to have a smile on your face when you go out there and relieve some stress.”

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