16-Year-Old Dies After Finishing Cross Country Race in Texas: ‘He Died Doing What He Loved’

By Mason Carter
Angel Hernandez died after completing a cross country race PHOTO: GOFUNDME

A tragic event occurred earlier this month when Angel Hernandez, a 16-year-old sophomore cross-country runner from Chisholm Trail High School, suddenly died after completing a 5K race at a district track meet.

According to KHOU, Hernandez achieved a personal best during the race on October 13. Immediately after crossing the finish line, he collapsed. Concerned friends rushed him to a water fountain, but he collapsed again and was promptly transported to a nearby hospital, where he tragically passed away about an hour later. The exact cause of his unexpected death remains under investigation by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

In a touching tribute following his sudden demise, Hernandez was posthumously named the Athlete of the Week at Chisholm Trail High School, as announced on the school’s athletic department website.

Joseph Gifford, Hernandez’s coach, expressed his grief, stating, “He worked hard and was an amazing teammate. We lost Angel at the District XC Meet, and words cannot express our feelings for him and his family. Thank you, Angel, for all your hard work and determination. You will be extremely missed.”

Hernandez’s impact extended beyond just the track. He also attended and competed at the Texas School of Karate. The school suspended classes in the week following his death as a mark of respect. Ashley Wood, his karate coach, praised the young man for his infectious personality and ever-present smile. She commented on his vast influence, mentioning that Hernandez’s reach went far beyond martial arts and cross country. Wood initiated a GoFundMe campaign to aid Hernandez’s family with funeral expenses.

Alejandro Bailey, a fellow cross country runner and close friend, vividly recalled the harrowing moment Hernandez collapsed at the district meet. Speaking to CTHS’s newspaper, The Ranger Record, he shared, “As the moment was happening all any of us could think about is that hopefully he could pull through this and that we needed him.” He further added the emotional toll the incident took on the team, emphasizing how Hernandez was “like family” to them.

Madison Meers, a CTHS senior and Hernandez’s close friend, remembered him fondly, saying he “always put a smile on my face even when I was down and always knew how to brighten someone’s day.”

“Angel loved everyone he met,” she said. “He did not care what had happened in your past, he still loved you.”

She added, “He loved to run and make everyone’s day. He died doing what he loved, and we all hope he is safe and happy.”

Following the heartbreaking event, Chisholm Trail High School held a moment of silence at its annual homecoming football game, and a funeral service for Hernandez was conducted last Friday.

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