Beloved College Track Star Dead at 21, Friends and Fans 'Shocked and Grief Stricken'
Amid all the accolades heaped upon her for her athletic achievements, something went horribly wrong for college track star Sarah Shulze.
Despite being only 21, with so much life and potential ahead of her, Shulze took her own life earlier this month, her family announced on a website created to honor her memory.
Shulze had earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 for track while running for the University of Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Athletics community is heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze pic.twitter.com/HNXK8KvJ1Q
— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) April 22, 2022
“The world is a better place for Sarah having been part of it,” said Tim Chevalier, the athletic director at her high school in Oak Park, California, according to the VC Star.
“While her passing has been difficult to process, I take hope that her stories will continue to be told and her positive impact on others will be remembered,” he said.
“In the classroom, Sarah was a top-notch student,” he continued. “On the track, Sarah was a fierce competitor who [was] absolutely electric and continually pushed herself to be great.”
But for reasons not disclosed, the pressures became too great, her family said.
“Sarah took her own life. Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment. Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was,” they wrote on her website.
“Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world,” her family said.
“Her deep compassion was evident in her devotion to her sisters Abbey and Ella, the love her parents felt from her every single day, and the extra care she took in moments shared with her grandparents and cousins.”
A terrible loss for Sarah Shulze’s family and the Badger community.
Student-athletes are dying. They need help, compassion, support, change. #MentalHealthMatters
If you or a loved one need immediate assistance, the National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255. https://t.co/8912WyuDtB
— Jen Verbiar (@jenmverb) April 22, 2022
Last week, the family announced their plans to respond to her death.
“The Shulze Family is proud to announce that we have set up the Sarah Shulze Foundation to continue to support the causes most important to our Sarah,” they wrote.
“The Sarah Shulze Foundation will seek to advance and support Women’s Rights, Student Athletes and Mental Health,” they wrote.
I remember speaking with Sarah for her Runner of the Year story. She was sweet, smiley and humble. She was one of the best runners in the state and went on to run at Wisconsin.https://t.co/fKndqNn9Ub
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) April 20, 2022
A funeral service for Shulze will be held May 2 at 3 p.m. at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California.
The family noted that Shulze was an organ donor and that her organs were donated on Good Friday.
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