Students held a moment of silence on a Twin Cities ski slope Tuesday in memory of an alpine skier who couldn't be there to compete with them.
Sam Foltz's fellow Prior Lake skiers pressed on at the regional meet at Buck Hill in Burnsville, two days after the ninth-grader was gravely injured in a Sunday morning crash as his father drove him to that very slope for a workout. He remains on life support while his organs are being prepared for donation.
"He would have placed well, especially among the Prior Lake skiers," said regional director Bob Boldus, who was there for the moment of silence observed by 20 boys teams ahead of the national anthem. "We all have a heavy heart. It's such a hard thing."
Foltz, 14, has been at HCMC in Minneapolis since the crash and was being prepared for surgery Wednesday afternoon, a relative said.
"This provides us joy in a somber moment," said Tim Urness, an uncle and Foltz's godfather. "Sam can live on now."
Urness listed the destination of various organs from his nephew: a heart for a 7-year-old boy, a kidney for a 16-year-old boy, a kidney and pancreas for a 35-year-old woman and a liver for a 45-year-old man. He said the procedure was expected to last about five hours.
"Pretty emotional time walking him to that operating room," Urness said.
Sue Urness, Foltz's grandmother, said that Sam and his dad "skied together every Sunday with a group of others."
Prior Lake ski coach Dave Everson said Foltz "had come a long way between last year and this year," moving up from junior varsity as an eighth-grader to sticking with the varsity team this season and turning in strong performances.
"He was super coachable and really wanted to know what to do to go faster," Everson said. "The way he was picking up things, there really was no limit. He could have done great things."
The Prior Lake boys and girls teams practice together, and many of them were hearing the news for the first time about Foltz during their pasta dinner Monday night.
Everson said T-shirts in honor of Foltz have been made, and a team photo is planned for Thursday at Buck Hill ahead of the JV championship race.
"We will have a tribute put on the scoreboard with Sam's name up there," the coach said.
Lives 'shattered in instant'
The three-vehicle collision occurred about 9:15 a.m. at 185th St. E. and Natchez Avenue in Credit River Township. Foltz and his father, 48-year-old Jason Foltz, were among four people injured. The others have survived.
"Our lives have all been shattered in one instant," Sue Urness said. "He was a kind, kind soul who always worried so about his friends, his grandpa 'Papa' and his great-grandma."
Services for Foltz will be Sunday at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake. Further details are pending.