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Student athlete attempts suicide, stuns classmates

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 11, 2001


WESLEY CHAPEL -- Faculty and students at Wesley Chapel High School dealt with the somber news Wednesday that an 11th-grade boy attempted suicide on Sunday.

A crisis intervention team and school counselors met with students during the day and a letter was sent home to parents informing them of the impending death of the boy, who was an honor roll student and soccer player.

"Disbelief" is how athletic director Tom Adams described students' reactions. "I think in these cases that's always the common response."

Soccer coach Jimmy Hymiller canceled Tuesday's practice and Wednesday's game against Land O'Lakes, and said tonight's game against Tampa Catholic would be rescheduled at an undisclosed date.

Hymiller planned to resume practice on Friday and said Monday's home game against River Ridge will be played.

"I'm emotionally taxed," said Hymiller, who teaches world history, psychology and sociology. "I talked to kids all day."

The school has not revealed the student's name. Principal Andrew Frelick said the Wesley Chapel resident, who attended Land O'Lakes High as a freshman before transferring, was on life support and not expected to live.

"We're trying to give the parents time to resolve the situation," Frelick said.

Informed late Tuesday by Hymiller that Wednesday night's game would be canceled, Land O'Lakes soccer coach Mark Pearson responded, "I understand, obviously. "It's a terrible thing. I don't know what I'd do if something like that happened here."

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