David Stankiewicz a senior in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences died on Saturday, the university has announced.
A Funeral Mass for David will take place at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 35 Norfield Road, Weston on Saturday April 1st, at 11 AM.
Calling hours will be at Harding Funeral Home 210 Post Road East, Westport, CT on Friday March 31st, from 5-8 PM. Please be sure to keep David and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Stankiewicz, a 2012 graduate of Weston High, competed for SU men's track and field his freshman and sophomore years and was an All-State and All New England runner for the Trojans.
Stankie will be remember for his quiet, easy going manner that hid a competitive drive. He wasn't a vocal leader but gained the respect and admiration of his teammates by leading by example and with his dedication to his team.
He was a multiple time SWC and Class M champion and helped Weston's 4 x 800m to a 3rd place finish in the New England Championships his freshman year. His greatest race was the State Open his sophomore year where he popped off a three second PR to finish 5th in 1:54.59 and qualified for New Englands.
Nagging injuries never allowed him to improve on that time, but he still won several individual championships and relays with his blazing kick. He led his team to several championships, mostly notably the 2012 Class M cross country title which he won with several of his closest friends at his side.
There have been several Connecticut athletes who have passed away recently. As a coach, it always bothers me about the loss of potential and how much their passing leaves a hole with their family, friends and teammates.
Athletes, especially distance runners spend an incredible amount of time together. They usually compete in all three seasons together and of course there is the mandatory summer training plus the ever-popular week long overnight camp experience with your teammates. In short, athletes become family during some very important formative years.
Most coaches also become part of the part of this second family and take their responsibilities quiet seriously. We refer to the members of our team as "our boys" or "my kids". Well David was one of my kids. I want the best for all my athletes and try to impart lessons that will help them in their lives.
But now just like other coaches who have gone through such tragedies, I feel that hole that is left behind. Nothing will fill that hole, but at least it will be a time for our track family to reconnect and reestablish our relationships to lean on each other. We will share stories of David and remember our good times together.
His fellow captain, Will Glaser wrote "it's unfortunate that something like this brings everyone together, but I'll be damned if it's not going to be a celebration of David's life and his time with us. To say the least, it's certainly a hard dose of mortality."
David will always live on in our memories and the way he made us feel. You knew you could always rely on him as a friend and teammate. His other co captain and close friend Noah Krassin summed up his feelings about David by saying "he was always ready to do anything that was asked of him. he put the team first. From racing any event to even racing a season on a stress fracture. He was always the guy I would trust for anything. I knew that no matter what he would have my back. He never let his success get to his head no matter what. To him the team was the priority and individual success and records were just a bonus."
One of my favorite Stankie stories was from the 2011 SWC Indoor Championships. He had already run a hard 600 and ran the 800m leg in the sprint medley relay. His legs were tired and you could see the fatigue in his eyes. It was a close meet and it was coming down to the 4 x 400m. I asked him if his legs were heavy and he responded truthfully by saying "yes". But his face lightened up, he smiled and said, "don't worry coach, I got this." There wasn't a slightest bit of cockiness in his voice, just the confidence that he would do it for his team. The relay won the race and that was the point difference in the meet.
That confidence came from the fact that he knew he and his teammates had all worked hard and they were counting on him and he didn't want to let them down.
Many years ago, there was an essay printed in Ann Lander's advice column written by Robert N. entitled `To Remember Me . . .`` It begins by stating that when he dies, he would like to have everything his body has to offer be donated to help others. And It concludes with the following lines:
"Burn what is left and scatter my ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil; give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever."
Stankie, you will live forever... we got this.