Tragedy in sports is something the common person hears about all too much. Often times, the tragedy includes the loss of a loved one. Seton Hill University, a small catholic school nestled in Pennsylvania, recently experienced a tragedy that changed the lives of many.
According to CNN.com, on March 16, 2013, the Seton Hill University Women’s Lacrosse team was headed to a game against Millersville University, also of Pennsylvania, when their team bus crashed.
In the crash, the bus driver, Anthony Guetta passed away. Thirty-year-old Kristina Quigley, head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, also passed away. Quigley was six months pregnant, according to CNN.com. Reports also stated that many members of the team were also treated for serious injuries at a nearby hospital.
Seton Hill University released an official statement on March 16 at 3:15 p.m. stating, “The Seton Hill University community is deeply saddened by the tragic bus accident that occurred at approximately 9:00 a.m. this morning … Kristina Quigley had just begun her second season with the Seton Hill women’s lacrosse program. She led the Griffins to 11 victories in her first season.”
According to HuffingtonPost.com, Seton Hill scheduled a memorial mass in St. Joseph Chapel on the campus of SHU just a day after the accident, March 17, 2012.
Dressed in their home uniforms, pictures of the memorial show members of the women’s lacrosse team hugging each other in tears, some even donning cuts and bruises from the accident.
Since the accident, the SHU women’s lacrosse team has not taken the field. But hundreds and hundreds of lacrosse teams, both men’s and women’s, ranging from the youth level to college level have played for the Seton Hill Women’s Lacrosse team and their fallen coach, including the Keene State College Women’s Lacrosse team.
According to senior captain, Nicole Curry, the team has worn crimson and yellow ribbons on their cleats during games to honor a woman and a team they have never met before. Curry said, “We are supporting people we have never met before because we all share the love for lacrosse.”
Crimson and yellow are the two school colors of the Seton Hill University Griffins.
Curry added, “A lot of other lacrosse teams around the country are doing this, both men’s and women’s, just to show our support. We feel for them and for their loss.”
A Facebook group was created days after the accident, titled “Play 4 Seton Hill.” The description of the Facebook group reads, “How much does your sport mean to you? How much do you sacrifice for your team to be successful? Everyday, our coaches bend their backs to support us in helping us accomplish our destiny. Unfortunately, Seton Hill’s women’s lacrosse program went through something no athlete can imagine–losing this person who has dedicated so much for their success.”
In two weeks, the “Play 4 Seton Hill” Facebook page has garnered almost 12,000 “likes” along with hundreds of pictures of lacrosse teams across the country wearing the Griffins colors of crimson and yellow.
Ribbons, stickers and even tape on some players’ sticks showed the lacrosse community’s support for the SHU women’s lacrosse team.
KSC senior and four-year member of the women’s lacrosse team Lauren Brown said, “I could never imagine having to go through something like that with my team.”
Brown added, “We are all connected through the sport of lacrosse. A tragedy just brings us all together and helps the sport grow even more.”
Brown also mentioned that the head lacrosse coach at KSC, Katie Arsenault, had a pregame talk with the team before their game with Westfield State on March 24, discussing the tragedy at Seton Hill. “Even though we get mad at each other here and there, losing someone like a coach or a teammate is so serious. And the things we go through aren’t as serious so we need to get over them,” Brown said.
Curry said, “Seton Hill is promoting the fact that we are one lax, one team, one family. They know that everyone is there from them, from states away.”
This is not the first time the lacrosse community has come together in support of a fallen member of their “lax family.”
In 2010, according to HuffingtonPost.com, Yeardley Love of the University of Virginia women’s lacrosse team was murdered by her boyfriend, George Huguely from the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team.
Support for Love, her teammates, family and friends began to pour in shortly after her murder. At the 2010 University of Virginia graduation, all graduates wore white ribbons on their gowns to represent their support for their fallen classmate and her family. Love’s number was also retired by the women’s lacrosse program, according to ABC.com.
According to CBS.com, even two years after her death, her high school alma mater paid tribute to Yeardley Love. The women’s lacrosse team organized a fundraiser that raised several hundred dollars for the “One Love Foundation.”
Although it’s upsetting to think that a tragedy like the one that recently occurred at Seton Hill University is what it takes to bring a community together, that’s exactly what this tragedy did. Kristina Quigley is being honored by her lacrosse family for giving her love and life to the game of lacrosse.
The official statement released by Seton Hill University on March 16 said that Quigley was survived by her husband, Glenn Quigley and their young son, Gavin. A memorial fund has been set up for Gavin Quigley. Donations are being accepted online, under the name “Scholarship Fund for Gavin Quigley.” The fundraising campaign has already raised nearly $70,000 for the Quigley family.
Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at email@example.com