MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has been an agonizing couple days for a small western Wisconsin town.
St. Croix Falls High School students Kegan Koshiol and McKinley Erickson were killed on their way to lift weights with their wrestling team before school Friday. They were driving on 220th Street when they crashed.
The Polk County Sheriff’s office says the teens hit a patch of ice and then ran off the road. Their SUV flipped and hit a series of trees.
It is an accident that has truly rocked St. Croix Falls. The boys were supposed to be with their team at the state sectionals this weekend.
Gracie Davison, who attends a neighboring high school, calls the accident “heartbreaking.”
“Everybody’s just really devastated,” Davison said.
Ella Cook goes to nearby Luck High School.
“Why did it have to be them? It was so sad. They did nothing wrong,” Cook said.
Dominick Diedrich was friends with Erickson for most of his life.
“I’m just, like, shocked that it happened,” Diedrich said. “McKinley, my best friend ever since I met him, and it’s just very sad seeing him go away like that.”
Erickson was a junior, and a standout athlete in football, wrestling and track. Friend Andrew Simpkins says he was the nicest kid he had ever met.
“He never, like, showed his anger or fear in anything. And he could’ve … been cocky and arrogant and all this stuff, but … I never actually saw this kid put himself above anyone else,” Simpkins said. “It was amazing.”
Koshiol was a well-loved freshman, and a strong wrestler. His friends say he had interest in one day serving in the military as a pilot.
“Kegan’s a good kid. He’s like this little guy that has so much energy,” Diedrich said. “He’s just a positive person. I don’t know, he’s just a good kid.”
St. Croix Falls wrestling coach Joe Raygor says the wrestling team decided to continue their friends’ legacy and compete in sectionals in Wausau.
“We kind of left it up to the kids to come today. We had two opt out because they couldn’t overcome the grief, but we had eight kids come down today. We talked about that sometimes it’s not the easy choice, but you have to do what’s really hard,” Raygor said. “We left it up to the kids, we told them we loved them, they came down here, they’re ready to fight, and they’re wrestling hard. We had both families reach out and tell us they wanted the boys to wrestle hard and they’re supportive from home. You know, that’s pretty powerful. The big thing that we preach is family. This is a horrible thing, but it reminds us of the family piece.”
The school was staffed with counselors Saturday.