The University of Wisconsin campus is mourning the death of a beloved track and cross country star.
Sarah Shulze, 21, died by suicide on April 13, her family announced.
“Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment,” Shulze’s family said. “Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.”
The California-born runner was a junior and member of the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams at the University of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin officials released a statement Friday regarding the beloved student, who was described as a gentle soul and decorated student-athlete.
“The Wisconsin Athletics community is heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze,” the university said. “We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time.”
Shulze’s death was followed by outpourings of grief on social media.
Olympic runner Georgia Ellenwood, a former Wisconsin track star, expressed her condolences in a comment under the school’s Instagram post.
She earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 while running at Wisconsin.
A 2019 graduate of Oak Park High, Shulze was a star distance runner at her high school. She was named Ventura County Athlete of the Year and earned a scholarship to Wisconsin in 2018.
Shulze’s family launched the Sarah Shulze Foundation to advance and support women’s rights, student athletes and mental health.
Funeral services at both University of Wisconsin Madison and in California were announced. The UW Madison service will be held at campus on April 24 from 5-8 p.m.
The California service will be held at Calvary Community Church on May 2 at 3 pm.
Shulze is survived by her parents, Brigitte and Scott, and her sisters Abbey and Ella.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.