MIDLAND, Texas: Driving home from a tournament in Midland, the van carrying the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf team crashed into a pickup truck in Andrews county, according to Texas DPS.
Of the 11 people in the two vehicles, nine died at the scene and two golfers remain in the hospital in Lubbock. Among those dead were the team’s head coach, Tyler James, and six student-athletes, including 21 year old Karissa Raines of Fort Stockton.
“We won’t forget,” Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen said. “We won’t forget their kids, and we are going to do everything we can to just keep those names alive.”
And the tragedy has hit the local golf community hard, with so many of these golfers familiar with one another. The University of the Southwest had four players from the Permian Basin on their roster.
“They know each other, they played in tournaments against each other growing up and knowing one another at least by name,” Allen said. “So obviously that part of it just makes it strike a little closer to home.”
With the second day of the tournament canceled Wednesday, it was time to clear the course’s score board. After a morning of prayer, the midland college golf team decided to keep USW’s score card on the board by itself.
“It’s symbolic,” Allen said. “That is our way of remembering the members of that team and the coach that have lost their lives.”
So the card still stands alone, a card pinned to the board just a day earlier, a striking reminder of how quickly it can all be taken away.
“These young people were doing something they loved,” Allen said. “They got to play golf in the sunshine and compete. I think all of us would kind of like to go out like that, doing something we love.”
Midland College plans to send the score card to the University of the Southwest for the school to keep.