By Jess Masulli
A memorial service to honor Preston Hirten will be held at the University of Mary Washington soccer field on Friday, Sept. 4 at 6:45 p.m.
The 20-year-old UMW junior died during soccer practice on August 18.
In a statement from President Judy Hample, Hirten’s parents said the preliminary autopsy results show he died of an enlarged heart. Sudden cardiac death is rare in young athletes, but still accounts for about 55 percent of athlete deaths, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.
Hirten collapsed on the Battleground Athletic Complex soccer field.
“He lived his life on the soccer fields,” a Westport obituary said.
Hirten was named to the All-State and All-Conference teams at Staples High School in his hometown of Westport, Conn.
After transferring from Hobart College in New York to UMW, he started as a center mid-fielder for UMW in his first season, according to Hample.
Hirten’s obituary said his passion took him to Ghana this summer where he volunteered as a soccer coach for a month.
“When not playing soccer, he was a great appreciator of music, an avid reader, an honor student and, as a political science major, he was passionate about many issues in the world,” his obituary said.
In his hometown, there was a candlelight vigil at his high school soccer field and a memorial service.
Hirten’s family requested contributions be made to the Preston Hirten Memorial Scholarship in lieu of flowers.
According to Vice President for Student Affairs Douglas Searcy, many of Hirten’s teammates and coaches traveled together by bus to Hirten’s hometown for the candlelight vigil and funeral.
Friday’s memorial will be an open event.
“Please come to remember Preston and reflect upon our connections to him and to one another,” Hample said.
According to Searcy, the Office of Student Affairs continues to provide support for students at this time.
Counseling and support is also available for students at Counseling and Psychological Services, located in Lee Hall, Room 106.
Appointments may also be made by phone at 540-654-1053.
“There is a tight knit community that is surrounding the team and supporting them in this difficult time,”