Running has at all times been necessary to Woburn senior Renee Stocker and one of many actions in her life that assist outline her. She’s put in lots of miles through the summer time months to organize for the pains that cross nation brings with it. And this previous summer time wasn’t going to be an exception.
But working simply didn’t appear that necessary to Stocker anymore after one horrible day whereas vacationing together with her household in Wareham in July. Just two days after their seventeenth birthday, Stocker’s twin brother and finest good friend Bobby died from accidents he sustained in a mud bike accident.
Overcome by unhappiness and grief, Stocker merely didn’t have the need or motivation to run one other step through the summer time, selecting as an alternative to spend extra time together with her dad and mom. Running would simply have to attend.
“I’ve always liked to run, but during the summer I didn’t run at all after that day,” mentioned Stocker. “There was just such a lot going on. It messed me up. The rest of the summer was just a blur. Running just wasn’t important to me.”
Woburn cross nation Jim Fletcher, whose spouse had simply given delivery to their first baby the day after, was surprised to listen to the unhappy information about Bobby. Fletcher knew him properly, having each the twins at school in center faculty.
“He was a great kid,” mentioned Fletcher. “A real funny kid. They shared a lot of the same personality and were different too. It really stings because it was such a shock and the way it happened.”
Fletcher spoke with Stocker and informed her to do what she wanted the remainder of the summer time. If she needed to go for a run she ought to, however most significantly he needed her to do what was finest for her.
Fletcher contacted the 17 members of the ladies’ cross nation staff, informing them of the unhappy information. The women, together with a number of previous members of the cross nation and observe groups, attended the wake and funeral in assist of Renee and the Stocker household.
The gesture from her teammates struck a chord in Stocker throughout such a tragic time of her life. “The team has been really supportive about everything, especially at the wake and funeral,” she mentioned. “Even the new girls who I really didn’t know well are considerate about everything.”
As the summer time drew to an in depth and cross nation practices started, Stocker knew it was time to ease again into working once more. The distinction now although was she had a close-knit staff she may lean on.
Fletcher was moved by the way in which Stocker carried herself within the wake of Bobby’s loss. Coupled with the work ethic she had delivered to the game the previous three years, Fletcher determined to call Stocker a staff captain. It was a transfer, Fletcher mentioned, he would have made even with out Bobby’s passing within the background.
Fletcher is aware of he made the correct choice.
“Renee’s a great kid,” he mentioned. “She’s undoubtedly a bit bit shy. She’s tremendously well-liked in her grade and everybody loves her. She does what she’s speculated to do. That’s why she was named a captain. It’s a no brainer there. I wish to assume if this didn’t occur to her she nonetheless would have been elected captain.
“Everything she’s done has been the right way. She’s full of integrity and resiliency. Even though she may not be where she wants to be (running-wise) she’s going to do things right and the best she can.”
Stocker’s teammate and shut good friend, Riley Flavin, mentioned being a captain fits her and the ladies, particularly the younger rookies, look as much as her. “She’s been a really great captain and is really supportive of everyone, but the especially the new girls,” mentioned Flavin. “She’s really made them feel part of the team.”
The tragedy introduced the staff nearer collectively and the ladies have rallied round Renee. “The team’s been real supportive and encouraging,” mentioned Flavin. “It’s definitely brought the team together. We’re smaller than a lot of teams, but we’re very close. I think it helps that she has a lot of close friends.”
Flavin mentioned she frolicked on the Stocker’s summer time dwelling in Wareham a few weeks earlier than the accident. “I knew Bobby from middle school,” she mentioned. “He was a really funny, upbeat person who was really nice to Renee’s friends.”
And for Stocker, she believes Bobby is watching her. “I find myself thinking about him when I’m running,” she mentioned. “It’s really hard. This is the first year of school without Bobby. It’s hard not having him here.”