Taylor White, who narrowly missed winning the 5A state heavyweight title as a senior in 2015 for Pine Creek, died late Sunday after he was involved in a hit-and-run incident while jogging in Phoenix. He was 21.
According to multiple reports, White and a 17-year-old boy were jogging with the green light inside the crosswalk when a westbound white SUV drove around several stopped vehicles waiting for the light to change and ran a red light, striking White and fleeing.
No arrests had been made as of Monday night.
“He was always happy, and he just loved people,” Pine Creek wrestling coach Billy Gabel said. “I got a lot of phone calls today from past wrestlers on the team. Many were freshmen when Taylor was a senior, and those kids were devastated because they said he was their hero. They looked up to him because he treated them as an equal and loved every one of them. He had a good heart. It’s really touching to have such good memories of Taylor.”
White won two Colorado Springs Metro championships, first in the 220-pound weight class in 2014, then as a heavyweight in 2015. At the state tournament in 2015, the 206-pound White took Chaparral’s Dane Drimmer, the state’s top-ranked wrestler, to the limit, falling 5-4 on an escape point with 16 seconds left.
He signed a national letter of intent to Grand Canyon University but wrestled only one year before the program was dropped. He was pursuing a degree in athletic training.
White was scheduled to get married on April 28 in Seattle, and Gabel and his wife had already purchased airline tickets to witness the event.
“His goal in life was bigger than athletics,” Gabel said. “It was the ministry. He was a strong Christian, and his goal was to deliver his life to people to see Jesus through him. I think he did that on a daily basis.”