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Friday, December 2, 2022

One coach and six college golfers are among the nine people who died in the Texas wreckage

On Tuesday night, the University of the Southwest’s golf teams were on their way home after a day of play in the form of a passenger van, when a pickup truck rumbled into view. The pickup truck belonged to a member of the golf team from another local institution.

According to Texas officials, the vehicle hit the bus on a remote road shortly after, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals, including the university’s golf coach and six of his players. The collision was one of the most serious involving sports teams in recent years, according to reports.

Coach Tyler James, as well as student-athletes Travis Garcia, Karisa Raines, Mauricio Sanchez, Tiago Sousa, Laci Stone, and Jackson Zinn, were recognised by the university as being among the victims. Zinn, who was 22 at the time, was the eldest of the students, the most of whom were first-year students at the institution.

A statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which, along with the National Transportation Safety Board, has launched an investigation into the wreck, said that the truck had veered into the lane that the team van was travelling in “for unknown reasons” shortly after 8:15 p.m. local time on Tuesday. State authorities said that both cars burst into flames, and that the driver and a passenger in the truck were killed as a result of the accident. The identity of the suspects were not immediately released by the police.

After being airlifted to Lubbock, Texas, via helicopter on Wednesday, authorities said that two kids were in severe condition at the hospital there.

In order to participate in a college tournament in Midland, Texas, the golf teams journeyed to the state of Texas, where several U.W.S. players had attended high school. Due to the disaster in adjacent Andrews County, the rest of the two-day, 11-school competition has been postponed, according to tournament organisers on Wednesday.

James was a newcomer to the institution, having been appointed as a coach just last summer after having previously worked at other Christian campuses and at a high school roughly 120 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Sanchez, a Mexican freshman, had placed in a tie for sixth place in a competition in the fall of his freshman year. A 19-year-old student who attended high school in a tiny town south of San Antonio, Garcia aspired to join the United States Secret Service or, like his idol, Bubba Watson, become a professional golfer like his idol, Bubba Watson. Zinn, a native of suburban Denver who adored Phil Mickelson and was pursuing a degree in hospital administration, was a cheeseburger enthusiast. Sousa, who was 18 at the time, had travelled to the United States from Portugal, according to the institution.

Preparing for rounds, Raines, a biology major from Fort Stockton, Texas, would pray and listen to music, and she aspired to work as a forensic scientist after graduation. Among her favourite athletes were American golfer Nelly Korda, who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, and the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club. Stone read the Lord’s Prayer before every round of golf, and she enjoyed juggling. She studied global business management and enjoyed juggling.

According to government records, the United States Women’s athletics programme, which is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, is an important element of the undergraduate experience for many of the university’s hundreds of students. It is similar to many small athletic programmes that exist primarily to provide extracurricular activities rather than to generate revenue; between July 2019 and June 2020, the athletic department generated revenues of approximately $3.8 million, which is less than the base salaries of many of the country’s most famous college football coaches, according to the NCAA.

The institution, on the other hand, is not the only tiny school to be confronted with a terrifying situation involving one of its touring teams. It was 2007, and members of the Bluffton University baseball team were sleeping when their bus crashed from a highway bridge in Atlanta, killing five of them, as well as the bus driver and his wife. Seven years later, four North Central Texas College softball players were killed in a car accident on Interstate 35 in the same area.

In 2018, a bus transporting a junior hockey team from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer at the junction of two roads, resulting in the death of sixteen persons.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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