Texas High School Cross-Country Runner Dies Suddenly at Practice

Dylan Running

Courtesy of the Dorrell Family

The Guyer High School cross country team in Denton, Texas, is mourning the loss of one of its members after he died suddenly at practice on August 13.

Dylan Dorrell, 17, had just finished a cool down after a tempo workout with his team when his coach, Jonathan Ponsonby, found him in a park bathroom unconscious and unresponsive, due to a cardiac-related incident. Initial attempts at CPR were unsuccessful, and Dorrell was unable to be resuscitated.

Dorrell, who was set to be a senior this year, was starting his sixth season of cross country. His team is devastated by the loss and is working to plan a way to remember their quiet but adored teammate.

“He was very quiet, very himself” Ponsonby said. “His parents put it well—he was confident in his awkwardness. He wasn’t concerned with what others thought of his passions.”

Those passions included anime comics and Star Wars, and he was not afraid to show off those passions to his team. He once brought a lightsaber to practice to show his team.

Courtesy of the Dorrell Family

Even though he wasn’t the most outgoing of teenagers, Dorrell never hid his compassion. That came to Dorrell’s parents’ attention on Friday when they went for a walk in the park where the team had practiced regularly, including the day before.

“They ran into some of our ROTC members, who, on their own, were doing a #RunForDylan there,” Ponsonby said. “They approached Dylan’s dad and said, ‘Had I not met Dylan in physics class, I would’ve never passed. He was the reason I succeeded.’”

Similar stories and words of condolence spread to the family and to the team, including from strangers who were regulars in the park where they practiced regularly.

“He was so shy and quiet that people never really thought he reached out and connected with people,’ Ponsonby said, “But, my goodness, he did.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Dorrell family to help with funeral expenses (you can donate to that here). The team, school, and local community are also working to do something in Dorrell’s honor for this season and season’s to come. So far, the booster club has made shirts commemorating Dorrell for the team, coaches, and school administrators.

The Guyer High School cross country team will compete in its first meet of the season on September 12.

Story Credit: https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a33637207/dylan-dorrell-texas-runner-dies-at-cross-country-practice/#:~:text=Dylan%20Dorrell%2C%2017%2C%20had%20just,to%20a%20cardiac%2Drelated%20incident.

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