Teen wrestler's dad: Myrel 'lost this match'
FRAZEE, Minn. - The community is in mourning after Myrel Schermerhorn, the 17-year-old Frazee-Vergas High School wrestler hospitalized since a car accident last month, died on Monday.
Schermerhorn's father wrote on the family's CaringBridge website: "This is the proudest Dad in the world," but Myrel "lost this match."
That update was posted at 12:44 p.m. In the hours that followed, hundreds of people - both those who knew Schermerhorn and those who followed his struggle from afar - posted messages of sympathy and support to the website.
"You put up an amazing fight and proved to the world what 'Beast Mode' means," wrote one visitor, invoking one of Schermerhorn's favorite phrases.
Another wrote: "I believe that for some unknown reason, for some reason we are unable to grasp, that God needed Myrel on his team."
Schermerhorn had been unconscious at Essentia Health in Fargo since Nov. 18, when his car flipped on an icy road into a pond as he drove home from a wrestling team fundraiser. Authorities believe he was submerged there for about 20 minutes.
Bruce Lemon, a friend who encountered the crash scene, wrote on Schermerhorn's CaringBridge website after the accident that Schermerhorn did not have a pulse when he was first pulled from his car.
At times since then, his family had been cautiously optimistic that he was taking small steps toward recovery, giving updates on the website. In the past few days, however, they said complications arose including infections, a partially collapsed lung and kidney issues.
A cause of death was not immediately available on Monday.
Charles Cheney, superintendent of Frazee-Vergas Public Schools, said plans for a memorial service have not yet been finalized.
He said the news came as a shock to a school that rallied behind Schermerhorn with high hopes for his recovery.
"It's been very difficult for our kids," Cheney said. Our kids and all of us had the hope and the desire and the belief that Myrel was going to be fine. This result was something that nobody even wanted to think about."
He said the school did not officially notify students because the news had already spread via social media and other means.
Cheney said Schermerhorn was a "vibrant, excellent person" - a great student who loved contact sports.
"He was just an energetic, fun-loving young man," he said.
After the accident, Frazee-Vergas High School Principal Rob Nudell said Schermerhorn was "one of those kids that everybody in the school knows."
He said he expects the school to come to the family's support with the same vigor it did after the accident, when students hung "Pray for Myrel" signs on nearly every locker, took up collections for his medical costs, and sold t-shirts to help raise money for the family.
"I am certain that his community will be equally supportive of the family as they grieve the loss of their son," Nudell said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502