By Diana Rocco
LINWOOD, N.J., (CBS) –Family and friends mourn the loss of a dedicated student athlete whose life was cut short after a car crash.
Wednesday night, more than 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, Atlantic County.
Members of the Mainland Regional Girls Soccer Team wrapped their arms around Aisling Cooke’s mother after presenting her with the incoming freshman’s #4 soccer jersey.
“She would have really been a starting freshman for us, but its her soul that we are celebrating and her life and the expression of her heart,” Dr. Robert Previti, Superintendent of Mainland Regional High School said.
More than 1,000 students and friends packed the school’s football stadium.
They gathered for a moment of silence, then lit candles on the field, all to remember the 14-year-old who died just one day before her first day of high school. Cooke succumbed to her injuries she suffered in a crash on Saturday.
She was in a car with four teammates in Mays Landing on their way to a charity soccer tournament.
Cooke was critically injured when a truck going in the opposite direction on Route 40 crossed the yellow line.
“She was a team player. One of my best memories of her was scoring that goal in the final second to win the championship for us,” Soccer Coach Leon Brown said.
“She was the nicest girl there ever is. She never said anything mean about anybody ever. She was a great soccer player too. She was just the sweetest girl and I can’t believe this happened,” teammate Addison Antonucci said.
Mainland is no stranger to heartbreak.
Just three years ago, four members of the high school football team were killed in a car crash on their way to a team meal.
School begins in the morning where they will have a moment silence for Aisling. Her soccer team will take the field next week for their first game without her, but her #4 jersey will be retired until the year she would have graduated.
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