Team vehicle’s crash claims student-athlete’s life
A member of the women’s cross country team at Franciscan University of Steubenville – a provisional Division III member school affiliated with the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference – died Tuesday in a van crash that also injured six student-athletes.
Kelly Roggensack, a sophomore political science and business major at the school, was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle and was returning from a practice run with teammates from the Baron men’s and women’s cross country teams when the vehicle’s driver apparently swerved to avoid a tire.
The SUV, one of several vehicles used that day by team members to travel to and from a practice site, left U.S. Route 22 near the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border and plunged down a wooded hillside, according to media reports. Roggensack died at the accident scene, according to the county coroner.
Two of the injured team members were flown to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and four others were treated at a nearby hospital. A school spokesman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that those injuries did not appear to be serious.
The college, after consulting with Roggensack’s family, indicated it would hold a memorial Mass for the Tennessee native after the school’s students return to campus for the fall term late this week. More than 350 students, faculty, staff and friends gathered Tuesday at the college’s Christ the King Chapel for a candlelight vigil.
“The entire university family mourns her loss and is praying for the repose of her soul and for the consolation of her family and friends,” said the Rev. Terence Henry, the university’s president. “She was highly thought of by everyone who knew her. The cross country team members had nothing but kind words for her. It is hard to measure how deep this loss is to all of us.”
The university’s Franciscan priests and student-life staff are providing pastoral support and counseling services for team members and other students, a school spokesman told the Stuebenville Herald-Star.
The Pennsylvania State Police’s investigation of the crash continued Wednesday.
The team, which has 33 men and women on this year’s roster, is scheduled to begin competition August 30 at the Westminster (Pennsylvania) Invitational, and also is scheduled to compete for the first time in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championships in early November.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association