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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton honors a fallen alumna

Feb 21, 2024 09:43AM ● By Christine Yee

Note: Christine Yee is assistant girls wrestling coach and English teacher at Brighton High School


On Jan. 16, the Brighton High Wrestling program honored a recent alumna who died in a car accident just after Christmas.

Katelyn Marie Edgell, a two-time Class 5A state placer, died this past Dec. 26 when an oncoming vehicle crossed over the center line and collided with her. She would have been 19 this April. 

At the dual wrestling match against Herriman, the Bengals presented Katelyn’s family with her framed singlets, a plaque noting her accomplishments and the booster’s Legacy Award for “substantial contributions to the success of the Brighton wrestling program.” The girls team wore gray shirts with print in Katelyn’s favorite color, teal, including a heart surrounding her initials on the sleeve. 

In a sign of unity, Herriman wore orange bows in their hair to honor Brighton’s most decorated female wrestler.

Katelyn also excelled in music. Early on, she found a love for the flute and the piccolo. Later at Brighton High School, she studied under Ms. Makala Mortensen and picked up the trumpet in the Marching Band. 

Learning new things and finding success in them was supremely Katelyn.

By all measures, Katelyn was a fantastic, disciplined student. Her transcripts show near perfect rows of A’s. She took advanced math and English. Because she took music and athletic classes, she had to take online courses too. She completed the medical assisting program at CTEC and earned her certification. And she did all this while engaging in three difficult activities that kept her going through the summer, fall and spring. 

Few were surprised that she wanted to be a doctor. Her family wrote in her obituary, “Her aspiration to become a neurosurgeon was driven by her curiosity and fascination with medicine.” 

She also loved animals. As her family wrote: “Animals both great and small were powerless against her charms. If it swam, flew or crawled, Katelyn loved it. Her dog, Bayre, couldn’t leave her side and her cat, Stormy, loved to aggravate her allergies. Katelyn had a special fondness for horses and enjoyed volunteering for Freedom Riders Horse Therapy Program.”

Katelyn helped lay the foundation for success in girls Wrestling at Brighton High School. She worked the hardest in every room she was in. At the end of her first year of wrestling, she had earned a fourth-place finish at the 5A state tournament in her weight class and helped the girls team win its first region championship. 

Her band and wrestling friend, Avryl Pineda, said: “She always kept me in check. Whenever she was mad at me, she would just pick me up, fireman carry me. She would leave me on her shoulders to calm me down.”

In her senior year, Katelyn learned to be a stellar captain. It surely wasn’t an easy job. But she was already known as the ultimate mom friend, supporting the girls the best she could—even bringing their favorite treats like Nutter Butter for freshman Ray Radzinski or Veggie Straws for freshman Mei-Mei Engebretsen to tournaments and carrying them off the mat if they were injured or exhausted. 

Katelyn met the challenges of leading and inspiring her teammates while fighting to a third-place spot on the podium at state as a senior. She finished her senior year as the leader in takedowns, pins and match points.

Then she jumped right into her first year of rugby, where she held her own against more seasoned players. She was one of the strongest players on the field and worked hard to understand the game every chance she got. 

At senior night in April, she announced that was going to play rugby and wrestle at Adrian College in Michigan. She joined just a handful of other Utah Rugby players that year to earn scholarships to play at the next level. 

In all this, may no one forget that Katelyn had a steady hand for competitive shooting and a warm spot in her heart for children. She was also an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

“Katelyn was a genuine person,” said friend Rhodes Martinez, also a former wrestler. “She doesn’t care about what you do. She’ll let you be you and then be you, too, sometimes. She’s like that. She was someone you can be yourself around all the time.” 

Katelyn truly lived a full life, filled with awesome humans. So many have been touched by her kindness and warmth. Her hugs and cuddles were the best, the wrestlers say. May each one of us be inspired to live a life like Katelyn. She didn’t know this would be the end of her story, but she lived like it could be.