WICHITA, Kansas – Newman University wrestler Reece Wright-Conklin died early Thursday morning after crashing his motorcycle on the way to work.
According to police the 21-year-old crashed his motorcycle into the side of PetSmart sometime before 4 a.m. He was taken to St. Francis in extremely critical condition where he later died.
Thursday afternoon, hundreds of friends and family came out to remember Reece.
“He’s just like the best guy I knew. He would do anything for me and he was just the best person I knew,” said Kelsey Kilburn, his best friends since the fourth grade.
“He was always willing to do anything for his friends,” she said.
She was one of about 200 friends, family, teammates and classmates gathered Thursday afternoon at a prayer service for Wright-Conklin.
“It’s been a hard day, but it’s – the grieving process is going to go on for a long time, but that’s what we’re here for and we’re just here to support each other,” said Dean of Students Levi Esses.
Staff spoke of Reece’s character and fun loving personality at the service.
“He was funny, full of energy, crack up- crack you up,” said one speaker.
Many noted his determination as a star athlete on the wrestling mat, succeeding even after a serious injury his freshman year.
“He was really committed to his academics and his athletic accomplishments and such a model for the Newman community, it’s just a tragic loss,” Esses said.
While family and friends try to cope Kilburn says she’s found some comfort in the kind words and stories shared about her friend.
“I know he had such an impact on my life and now I see how many lives he’s actually impacted, so it makes me feel good,” she said.
The school’s priest and councilors are being made available to any student who may need someone to talk to.