Track athlete, accounting major dies Saturday

Track athlete, accounting major dies Saturday

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Jason Aguilar, a sophomore accounting major and track athlete, died Saturday night.

Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers said the cause of death is unknown at this time but an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Schniers said the time of death was 8:14 p.m.

In an email to students, Vice President for Student Affairs Anne Flaherty shared information for students who are grieving at this time.

The counseling clinic can be reached at 581-3413 and a 24-hour crisis line can be reached at (866) 567-2400.

Flaherty also shared condolences in her email.

“Our thoughts and utmost sympathies go out to all those impacted by this unexpected loss, and especially to Jason Aguilar’s family, friends, and track teammates. The loss of any student pains us all. As we cope with our own personal and private feelings of grief and sorrow over this loss, we ask that everyone in our EIU community lift each other up in support and healing,” Flaherty’s email read. “…(University President David Glassman) and (Provost Jay Gatrell) join us in expressing our most profound sympathies to those closest to this loss, and we courteously ask at this time for everyone to respect the personal privacy of Jason’s family and friends as they cope with this tragic and unfortunate event.”

Aguilar competed in hurdles and sprints for Eastern’s track team.

In a statement from Eastern Athletics, Eastern Athletic Director Tom Michael and Director of Track and Field Keith Roberts said they are working to support students impacted by Aguilar’s death.

“We are extremely saddened by the news of Jason’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this emotional time,” Michael said.  “At this time we are doing everything we can to support our student-athletes and coaches as they work through this tragedy of dealing with the loss of one of their own.”

“Words cannot express the heartache our team is feeling after learning of the passing of Jason Aguilar. Jason was a part of our EIU Track Family and we are saddened by his passing at such a young age,” Roberts said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who loved him dearly, including the members of our Panther family.”

Several of Aguilar’s teammates took to Twitter to express their feelings on his death.

“Always had something positive to say to you, after every race, every PR, every bad race he always texted me with positive words,” Adam Swanson, a sophomore criminology major, tweeted. “Jason Aguilar was a real teammate and a great person. You will be missed but never forgotten.”

“It’s hard to put into words the emotions my teammates and I are feeling right now. Jason was an exceptional person teammate and friend,” Riley Baker, a junior kinesiology major, tweeted. “The world lost a great person.”

Friends of Aguilar shared their memories of him.

“Jason was a great person, he always literally put others before himself. He would do anything to make sure that you were taken care of and had a smile on your face. He wanted nothing but the best for anyone, all he wanted was for himself and the people he surrounded himself with to succeed,” sophomore sport management major, Jaheel Perrin, said. “Jason was one of my closest friends, we did and went everywhere together. We had an unbreakable friendship that nothing and/or no one could get in between.”

Former Director of Track and Field Brenton Emanuel, who recruited Aguilar to Eastern, said Aguilar was the perfect example of Eastern’s motto “bleed blue.”

“My heart hurts for everyone that knew Jason. He was a great young man. Worked hard on and off the track. The EIU mantra of bleed blue was so evident in Jason. He cared so much for the program and his teammates,” Emanuel said. ” Jason’s family was so proud of him becoming a Division 1 athlete. The recruiting call with his family and telling them why we were so interested in him, you could tell in their voices they were so proud of him. He was just a great kid that will be missed by so many.”

Autumn Shulz contributed to this article.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]