BOONVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Summer break should be an exciting time for students. Maybe it’s time to make memories with friends, embark on a family vacation, or start that first Summer job. However, for students at Boonville High School, their Summer break took a tragic and unexpected turn.
“We lost, the world lost, a great person.”
That is how Boonville wrestling coach Dusty Marchand describes the loss of 15 year old Gage McCoy, football player and wrestler who was set to begin his sophomore year this Fall. Community members, family members, coaches and teammates gathered at Boonville High School for a special honor walk and prayer vigil to celebrate Gage’s life.
“Gage’s personality crossed all spectrums,” says head football coach Darin Ward. “I think he was friends with everybody at Boonville High School. I mean he got along with everyone, he never looked down upon anybody.”
Coach Ward, along with others in attendance, shared the same sentiments about Gage; a hard-worker, fierce competitor, and motivated teammate. Coach Ward also says Gage was never one to shy away from a challenge, leaving a lasting impact on and off the field.
David Garrett was a middle school coach to Gage, who watched him grow up and share memories with his son, who Garrett says is learning to cope with the loss of a friend at such a young age.
“It’s been rough for him,” says Garrett. “It’s going to be rough for all these kids, rough for the family, Gage’s family. It’s going to take a while. Time heals all wounds, so it’s going to be a little bit of a long road.”
Gage was tragically killed in a bicycle accident at Lincoln State Park on June 4. The incident occurred on a trail near the park’s fire tower. The loss leaves a void in the Boonville community, and the athletic department, as Coach Marchand reflects on Gage’s short, but impactful, wrestling career.
“Great kid. I’d take 20 of him, 10 pounds apart,” says Marchand.
Coach Ward says the football team will continue to honor Gage, keeping him a part of the football program through what would be his senior year in 2024-25. Coach Ward also confirmed Gage’s football jersey would be retired, ensuring no other player will take to the field in the number 32 formerly worn by Gage.