20-year-old Willie Neal of Jackson Hole, WY was killed yesterday while roller skiing in Fort Fairfield, Maine.
Police told WCXU-FM that 20-year-old William Neal of Jackson, Wyo., was training with a friend in Fort Fairfield at 8:30 p.m. Sunday when he was struck by a vehicle driven by 18-year-old Eric Lunquist of Fort Fairfield. According to the Fort Fairfield Police Department, the skiers were on the correct side of the road when an automobile struck and killed Mr. Neal.
Police Chief Joseph Bubar said the cause is under investigation, but that alcohol is not believed to have been involved.
Neal had been accepted to Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, but had deferred for a year to train full time with the Maine Winter Sports Center in the hopes of making the 2010 World Junior Biathlon Team.
“Willie was a talented young athlete, a smart and inquisitive young man and exactly the kind of athlete we look for,” said Andy Shepard, President of the Maine Winter Sports Center. “He was a role model others looked up to and we were excited to have him join our program.” “This is a devastating blow to the entire US nordic skiing family and on behalf of the volunteers, athletes, staff and board of the MWSC; our thoughts and prayers go out to the Neal family.”
Neal went to the MWSC after spending time with Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and his hometown club, the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club.
Neal was a member of the US Junior National Biathlon Team. A standout high school skier in Jackson, Neal also served as a Wyoming delegate to the Democratic National Convention last fall. Neal was also the Executive Director and founder of “Cookies 4 Climate Change,” a non-profit organization whose mission is “to promote awareness and activism among youth about the dangers of climate change, and to be an organization that makes the transition into a more environmentally friendly lifestyle more financially feasible.”