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Sarah Shulze, a junior who was a runner on the women’s track and field and cross country teams at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has died. She was 21 years old.
On April 15, Shulze’s family posted about her death on a website dedicated to her life.
“We suddenly and tragically lost our dear Sarah on Wednesday, April 13. She was surrounded by her loving family,” the first post said.
The statement continued, “Sarah took her own life. Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment.”
The family — which includes sisters Abbey and Ella, her parents, her grandparents and her cousins — shared that they are “shocked and grief stricken” by Shulze’s death.
“Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world,” they wrote.
Shulze, who was from Oak Park, Calif., became a star athlete in high school as a member of the track and field and cross country teams and she eventually competed in national and state-level events. Her family wrote that she received a scholarship to race for the UW Madison.
According to her student athlete page on the university’s website, Shulze finished first in the 3,000 meters at an indoor track event earlier this year.
In addition to her success on the track, Shulze’s family wrote that she was also a member of the student athlete council and she interned at the Wisconsin state legislature.
“These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights,” the statement said.
Her family wrote that they were preparing to donate her organs.
In a follow-up post, the family thanked everyone for reaching out as well as “the outpouring of love and support for Sarah and our family.”
They shared that one service will be held Sunday, April 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There will also be another service in Westlake Village, Calif., on May 2.
“Both of these services will celebrate Sarah’s incredible life as we share special memories together,” they explained.
A post uploaded on April 22 revealed that the family set up the Sarah Shulze Foundation, which will help other student athletes and support causes that Sarah cared about such as women’s rights and mental health.
They are asking for support of the foundation in lieu of flowers.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison also posted a statement on the Badgers’ official Twitter account to express how “heartbroken” the Wisconsin Athletics community is over Shulze’s death.
“Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger student-athlete,” the tweet said. “We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time. Our primary focus is the support of the Shulze family and our student-athletes.”