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22nd Oct 2023

Boy, 16, collapses and dies after running personal best at cross country meet

Steve Hopkins

‘We’ll never get over it. We’ll never forget him’

A high school student collapsed and died after setting a new personal best at a cross-country meet in the US.

Angel Hernandez, a 16-year-old sophomore at Chisholm Trail High School, had just crossed the finish line of a five-kilometre race in Haltom City, Tarrant County, on October 13 when he suddenly collapsed.

Angel’s friends rushed him to a water station where he fell again before being taken to Medical City Alliance. An hour later he was dead.

His cause of death is unknown and is being investigated by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

Tributes have been pouring in for Angel, with his previous track coach Brent Brevard telling KHOU: “It was tragic, it was terrible news.”

“He’s such a great kid, a likeable kid, a good student, and it was awful news.”

Brevard said Angel was “the kind of student-athlete you wanted.”

“He worked hard and cared about the teammates. But then he also acted right in school and took care of his grades.”

Angel was farewelled at a funeral service Friday and a moment of silence was observed at the Chisholm Trail High School homecoming game hosted later that night.

The teen was also a student at the Texas School of Karate which shut for the week following his death as a mark of respect.

Coach Ashley Wood is quoted in media reports as saying: “Every one of us cried, every one of us has comforted each other.”

“It’s really hard. We’ll never get over it. We’ll never forget him. He’s going to be missed here, but he’s going to be loved always.”

Wood said Angel lived up to his name and his personality made everyone “love him”.

“He had an infectious smile. The moment of silence, it helps us know that he was loved by everyone.”

Angel, she said, had shown no signs of illness in the lead-up to the race.

The karate coach set up a GoFundMe page to help Angel’s family with funeral costs and as of Sunday evening, $12,500 had been raised.

The fundraiser reads: “We are all completely devastated by the loss of Angel too early in life. With the devastation also comes the high cost of arrangements that no one was prepared for.

“We want to make sure the Hernandez family can give Angel the celebration he deserves, to honour his memory, and pay all our respects to an amazing young man. We are asking for donations on behalf of the family in honour of Angel and the legacy he leaves behind.”

Angel is survived by his parents Antonio and Elsie Hernandez, and younger brother Mark.

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