Race Result Weekly’s David Monti wrote this piece on the terrible accident that happened to Milligan University athletes. We at RunBlogRun are terribly saddened that Eli Cramer was taken from his family, friends and community so early in his life. The preciousness of life is not lost on this writer, but in our teens and twenties, life seems so untouchable.
Please keep Eli Cramer and his family, friends and community in your thoughts and prayers.
This article was used with permission.
Eli Cramer in his official team photo (photo courtesy of Milligan University Athletics)
MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY IN MOURNING AFTER DEATH OF SOPHOMORE ELI CRAMER
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
(01-Apr) — The entire Milligan University community is in shock and mourning today after five members of their men’s track team were struck by a driver in Williamsburg, Va., last night, and sophomore Eli Cramer died of his injuries. Two other student-athletes, Alex Mortimer and Eli Baldy, were also injured. Mortimer is still undergoing treatment for a broken leg and dislocated shoulder, according to the university’s official Facebook page, and Baldy was treated and released.
Classes will not be held today at the small, Christian university which is about two and a half miles east of Johnson City, although the university said that faculty will be present in their classes to support and grieve with students.
“The past 24 hours have been unimaginable for our campus and have left a hole in our community,” student government president Chase McGlamery wrote in a statement posted on the school’s website. He continued: “Words cannot adequately describe the sorrow and heartbreak that is flowing rampantly across our campus today. The next few days and coming weeks will bring a great deal of emotion and heartache for Cramer’s teammates, friends, family, and our entire community.”
The Milligan team was in Williamsburg for the 55th Colonial Relays, which begin this morning. According to the Virginia Pilot newspaper, the incident occurred at about 6:00 p.m. on Williamsburg Pottery Road. Five student-athletes were running and were struck by a sedan operated by an unknown driver. The driver, who has yet to be identified, fled but was later apprehended by police after crashing his car.
Cramer was a business administration major from Murfreesboro, Tenn., according to the team’s official web page, and had graduated from Riverdale High School. He finished tenth in the 5000m at the recent NAIA Indoor Championships in Brookings, S.D., running a personal best 14:40.53 in the preliminary round, then 14:49.32 in the final. He was also part of Milligan’s 2021 NAIA national champion cross country team where he was the team’s third man and 20th overall.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put this feeling into words,” Cramer posted on his Instagram page after his team won the NAIA Cross Country Championships under coaches Chris Layne and Natalia Rivas-Foster last November in Vancouver, Wash. “It still hasn’t really set in that we just won the whole thing. I feel like I’m dreaming, and if I am, then don’t pinch me.”
Cramer was well-known on campus, according to school officials, and was known for his sense of humor.
“He was the type of person that always brightened your day,” wrote student government president McGlamery. “Cramer was a man who knew when to put his head down and work or when to steal the room with a sarcastic comment. Cramer was one of the best, but he never looked down on anyone. He saw people for people and loved them for who they were.”
Speaking from his hospital bed, senior Mortimer asked the Milligan community to pause today and appreciate the beauty of life.
“I want to exhort and thank you all for praying for me, for the Milligan team, and for the university and institution,” said Mortimer in a video posted on Facebook. “I want to say that moments like this make you realize what is, and is not, important in your life. My exhortation to our school tonight from Williamsburg, Virginia, is do not, do not, forsake or discount the beauty and the gift of life. It is like a vapor and it flashes before our eyes.”
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