Olivia Long, captain on Michigan State women's rowing team, dies following crash
Michigan State student-athlete Olivia Long, 20, a member of the women’s rowing team, died on Friday.
"We have lost a young, promising life way too early," Michigan State rowing coach Kim Chavers said in a statement. “Olivia was an excellent teammate who was invested in those around her and our program. As a captain, she connected with a lot of different people, and on a team as large as ours, team building is especially important. Our rowing family will miss her tremendously and will find a way to honor her legacy as we lean on one another to process our loss. We send our love and prayers to her family and all who loved her, as this loss is hard to comprehend.”
The Ionia County Sheriff's Office confirmed Long was injured Thursday afternoon when her car struck the back of a truck along Interstate 96 in Portland Township. The crash occurred when traffic had slowed due to another accident along the freeway.
Long enrolled at Michigan State for the 2019-20 year and earned a spot in MSU's varsity eight boat for her sophomore season. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last year and was voted captain of the team for her junior season.
“Our prayers go out to Olivia Long's family and friends," Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman said. "Olivia loved being a Spartan, and as a leader developed incredible connections with so many of her teammates. To lose her so soon seems especially cruel. We will provide support and resources to assist members of the rowing program and athletic department staff as they grieve."
Long was a high-level volleyball player at Lake Orion, leading her team to the Division I state championship as a senior and earning all-conference honors. She was also a standout for the Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy.