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Holy Cross rower killed in van crash just weeks after setting a world record

College of the Holy Cross sophomore Grace Rett was killed after a van carrying members of the rowing team collided with a pickup truck in Florida on Wednesday morning. The accident occurred just one day after her 20th birthday.

The van, which was carrying 11 students and the head coach, was headed to a rowing club in Florida for a practice, according to the Massachusetts college’s Dean of Students Michele Murray.

“This is a terrible loss for our community,” Murray said at a press conference.

She said that six students and the coach remain hospitalized with varying levels of injury after the Vero Beach crash. Rett was sitting in the front passenger seat of the van, according to police.

“My thoughts are really with Grace’s family and with her teammates,” Murray said.

Rett set a world record just weeks ago

Rett, a native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, had just set the world record for indoor rowing for her age group a few weeks before she died, according to CNN affiliate WCVB.

With encouragement from her friends and family, Rett rowed 383,000 meters or 237.55 miles in 62 hours and 3 seconds.

“The rowing part was awesome, but I saw my middle school principal, friends from church … My high school coaches drove in from Connecticut,” Rett told WCVB at the time. “That was the coolest part for sure.”

Now those same friends and family will be mourning the death of Rett, who Murray described as being “a light to all who knew her.”

“The College’s thoughts and prayers are with Grace’s family, friends and teammates at this time,” Holy Cross said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday, students gathered and prayed for Rett’s family and those who knew her. Her family is on the way to Florida, along with the Worcester school’s president, the Rev. Philip Boroughs, the director of athletics and two members of the chaplain’s office.

CNN